It’s been five days since I took garden photos, the rapid growth is evident. Warm, sunny weather has spurred the plants on. The corn is already knee-high, well before the 4th of July. The center of my knee is about 18″ from the ground, so that’s how tall the biggest plants are today. We are supposed to get some rain this evening, then more sun to follow, cornscateous weather. (That means hot, humid conditions, perfect weather for growing corn.)
Finally, more wax beans have sprouted! The second planting is coming up nicely. At least a dozen seeds sprouted so far, hopefully more to follow. The next few days will be the dangerous time for baby beans, when they are most vulnerable to cutworm attacks and damping off. Once they have a few leaves, most bean plants can’t be held back.
Time to weed and thin the carrots. Carrot seed is planted thickly to ensure enough sprout to fill out a row. The extra are thinned and fed to the bunnies. When planting carrots, I use a hand-held device called a “Minisem,” designed to evenly distribute very fine seed. The seeds go inside the round part, then an opening above the spout can be adjusted to allow the desired amount of seed to pass. It’s much easier to control the flow of the seeds with this tool. Trying to seed from the hand or the seed packet always produces uneven results.
The bachelor buttons are growing fast. This is the first time I’ve tried these flowers and I look forward to seeing how they do. The seedlings are supposed to be thinned but it breaks my heart to remove more than half of these babies. They do not transplant well so any removed will die.
Cornscateous weather is also great for tomatoes. Most of the plants are flowering now. I can hardly wait for those first juicy tomatoes from my own garden. Even the farmer’s market ones aren’t as good.
I’ve harvested about a pint of fresh radishes. They’re nice and mild, the way I like them.
I often neglect to wear gloves when I work in the garden. After a few hours of weeding and hand pruning, my hands get quite dirty. The plant juices and soil are ground into the skin. Minuscule bits of rock in the soil cause microscopic cuts to the skin, allowing stains to get deep and also roughening the skin. I make gardener’s hand soap just for me.
With a goat milk base and finely ground pumice, the soap cleans dirt and stains, smooths the skin by polishing away the microscopic cuts and moisturizes with natural emollients. I wouldn’t want to garden without my soap. I made a batch scented with cucumber and sage, smells great. And the sheep shape is really cute.
I gave a bar of my gardener’s soap to a friend once. She left it with her other soaps and her husband grabbed it for the shower. He said, “Boy, that’s some rugged soap!” Poor man. The pumice isn’t meant for tender parts of the body! I bet he was extra clean.