Happy Summer Gardening
by Lesley Stiles
Jun 01, 2013 | 455 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
June boasts the longest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Icelandic folklore says bathing naked in morning dew on June 24 will keep aging at bay, and if you are wearing pearls, the stone of health and longevity, you’ll be doubly blessed.

Perhaps this is why young couples worldwide tie the knot in June, or maybe it’s because June is named after Juno, the Goddess of Marriage. June brides make last minute, needless preparations, while June grooms disconnect from the madness by getting inebriated, realizing that anything they do or say could be catastrophic at best and wedding-canceling at worst. These rituals can possibly be attributed to the ancient Celtic planting traditions, which revolve around massive amounts of food and drink for the masses, and lead to the current tradition of numerous weddings in June. It could always be the nice weather as well.

Our summer gardens carry on these rituals by producing sweet confusions of tiny cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, all gangly on vines, with beans gaining length as we speak. Tiny peppers hide at ends of spent blooms, soaking up so much summer sun you can almost hear the rustle of laughter as the blossoms fall to reveal plump fruits. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries entice, abstractedly hanging off vines in a series of gentle curves, as we force ourselves not to pick, not just yet.

As solar heat and water provoke tugboat-sized vegetables, beneficial and mischievous pests both grow with a mob mentality in the garden. Lady bugs - good, snails - bad. We keep organic in all our gardens, and my motto is the more you plant good stuff, the less trouble you have with weeds and pests. We have been told that Sluggo is good for snails and slugs because it is compressed wheat gluten that expands in stomachs of mollusks. As for gophers, voles or moles go, you’re on your own. Start smart and if you are using boxes to grow gardens, cover bottoms many times over with chicken wire before adding dirt. This will almost certainly keep out burrowing critters, short of physical violence. We just learn to coexist with them and try to devour as much as they do, only quicker.

Happy gardening, and if you are not gardening, take full advantage of all the seasonal farmers’ markets open all over our valley right now for breathtaking, tongue tickling, almost as fresh as ours fruits and veggies that will keep you away from the doc. Enjoy all that the Diablo Valley and Northern Cali summer has to offer.

I love corn fritters, so it is only natural to make zucchini fritters as well with your abundance of this crop.

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