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Archive for August, 2007

Peachy-keen NasturtiumPeachy-keen Nasturtium ‘Glorious Gleam’

The colour, flavour, and my mood of this past weekend can be summed as “just peachy.” I was enjoying the fruits and flowers of the season in a country garden.

I was at my mom’s place in the eastern Fraser Valley and photographed, admittedly with envy, her floriferous nasturtiums and feasted on fresh peaches.

In trying to solve a different problem, I think my mom may have discovered the secret to boosting the bloom potential of nasturtiums: fish fertilizer. She started applying it two weeks ago in attempt to correct a problem with yellowing leaves. Not only did it restore the leaves to a healthy green, but the previously flowerless plants burst into abundant bloom. Correlation or causation? I really don’t know. I think it’s too late to try this treatment on my almost-barren nasturtiums but I will file this information away for next growing season.

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Caution: you may need sunglasses to view this bright orange blossom. This variety really lives up to its name, “Glorious Gleam.”

And if this really is the last flower of the summer, I can always knit some nasturtium socks (scroll down the page under free patterns).

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As the email I received this morning reminded me, our big day is just around the corner. And of course, I’m not prepared.

What are you going to do on Kitchen Garden Day, August 26th, 2007?

I’m going to plant the last of my 2007 crops: arugula, cilantro, corn salad and winter lettuce. (More details in a post to come.)

I’d also like to do something more creative and celebratory–perhaps a walk to the nearby community gardens or a longer trek out to UBC Farm. A lovely “Tis the season” post on Grist about summer’s end and salad dressing inspired me to do this.

Here’s an excerpt but it’s well worth taking a few minutes to read the full essay:

I know that if we paid adequate attention to all of these miracles — really and truly gave them their due — we would never be able to get anything else done. I also know, however, that if we don’t stop to marvel at these things now and then, we will never understand and appreciate them fully, and, as a consequence, we will never be able to get anything done. This fleeting moment of peak growth, of plants straining to complete their seed-producing mission, of living things going flat-out as they sprint toward the end of the growing season, seems as good a time as any to stop and look around.

This passage really resonates with me. I need to learn to stop and smell the roses, or in my case, nasturtiums, more often.

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Another nasturtium photo

Nasturtium glamour shot

Taken after I read the camera user guide. Yes, it pays to read all the fine print in the manual.

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Lonely, only child

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The first nasturtium flower burst into bloom early yesterday morning and I captured the moment with some photos. I fear this first-born may be the only-born. None of the other dozen plants have significant flower buds, although I remain hopeful.

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I’m not happy with the quality of the photos but this is the best detail I can get with the macro setting on my point-and-shoot Canon A510. If I’m going to be taking photos of the rare, single bloom, I think I may invest in a digital SLR [addendum] finally learn how to use the advanced functions (like manual focus) on my camera.

No false humility here. I am a very unskilled photographer. But if I am going to see only one nasturtium flower this season, I’m determined to immortalize it with a photo, even if I have to hire a professional to shoot it!

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Sowing seeds in mid-August

I’ve had this information on a page since the beginning of the month but because we’re now just past the middle of August, I thought I’d republish it as a post in case it’s been overlooked. According to my blog stats, people are finding this site by using Google phrases like “sowing seeds in summer” or in a particular month.

According to Linda Gilkeson, author of Year-Around Harvest: Winter Gardening on the Coast, here is what to sow late-July to mid-August:

arugula, broccoli raab, Chinese greens, collards, daikon and winter radish, fall & winter lettuce, kale, mizuna, leaf mustards, mustard spinach, spinach, scallions & winter onions

West Coast Seeds has varieties for most if not all these vegetables.

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Much as this woman and her dog desperately need a shade tree on these hot summer days, I unfortunately cannot grow one on my balcony. I can, however, promote an arboreal blog carnival: The Festival of The Trees. I’ve added a button linking to the coordinating blog at the end of the links section.

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