Dog days of August

Sprout Farm News Letter Aug. 16, 2018

Hello Everyone,

We've had some interesting weather lately and this may bode well for a good wild blueberry harvest next year. The buds begin to form in August and without rain they don't set much fruit. I used to have the time to pick them but that's gone.

Jay has settled on a price for mums- $4.99 for the regular mums and $5.79 for the new igloo series that is supposed to be a true perennial mum. The mums are just beginning to color up and Jay organized the mums so that one greenhouse has nothing but yellow mums. The floor in the greenhouses are VERY slippery so please wait until we can make it safe to walk in there.

WE have lots of peaches, finally. Read this warning in case you're tempted to break open the stone and eat the peach pit.

How poisonous are peach pits?

The seeds (also known as pits or kernels) of stone fruits, such as apricots, cherries, plums, and peaches, do contain a compound called amygdalin, which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when ingested. And, yes, hydrogen cyanide is definitely a poison.Jan 30, 2018

The peach pit looks and tastes like an almond but don't eat it. Plant it if you want a peach tree and all the work that goes along with it. Spray, prune and spray again.

If you know you're going to miss the taste of fresh peaches in winter, I have good news for you. Peaches are easy to freeze. Peal and slice the peaches into wedges then soak the wedges in a solution of one part lemon juice and three parts water. They only need a minute or two in the solution. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and lay them on a flat tray and stick them in the freezer. As soon as they are frozen you can bag them and put them back in the freezer. Once I found a bag of peaches that had slipped to the bottom of the chest freezer I call the white whale. The peaches had been there for two years but they were still good. Be honest, how often do you look at EVERYTHING in your freezer?

I have some lemon grass in the herb garden that is ready to pick. I plan on trying it with a Thai recipe, someday. You'll find fresh basil boxed up in the cooler. We have a limited supply of other herbs to pick upon request.

We may have fall peas, at least the peas that Jay planted have germinated. That's new for us. We've tried to grow them in the fall in past years but they just wouldn't germinate.

We tried planting a new variety of Spanish onions this year and they only grew about half as big as the Walla- Walla onions we have grown in the past. Jay was thinking of not even bothering to harvest them but I told him that there is probably a market for smaller onions. There are a lot of people who like to buy just enough food for two or three meals; shopping often for fresh food. We'll see how that goes. If I can find an attachment to help dig the potatoes it will save a lot of labor during this hot month. Less time in the potato patch and more time in the onion field.

Some of you have been noticing the pure white hibiscus growing in the garden on top of the wall. We were successful growing these plants from ancient seeds and they're about two feet tall now. I want to see the blooms before the plants go on sale because I want to make sure they are pure white. The 10” blooms are stunning in the August garden next to the white phlox. So far the petunias and the coleus are the window box winners and the dreamland zinnias are the winning flower in the experimental wall garden.

One last tip for all you gardeners who are waiting for the fungus to spread among us.

That good old stand by, hydrogen peroxide, might be just the thing to prevent a fungus outbreak during this muggy, rainy August.

Fluffy went to see the vet today and she's fine, just finicky.

Our pet deer has returned and she's not afraid to walk the fence line close to our neighbor's barking dogs. The battle goes on.

See you soon,

Jay and Phyllis Sprout

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