Dear Friend and Gardener: June 13, 2014

Dear Friend and Gardener,

A hot and muggy week, with downpours every night. This is the summer weather I remember from childhood. I spent the morning building a trellis for the tomatoes, which have outgrown their stakes, and preparing containers for the second round of tomatoes that will come from the suckers I pinched off the first ones. I’m not wasting a thing!

The beans (‘Provider’ bush beans) seem to have taken a pause. I cannot blame them; I don’t want to work much in this humidity, either. I keep them picked and hope they’ll recover a bit when we’ve had a few days below 90. I’ve read that pollen dies above 86F, so that would explain why production is shallowing out. I saw a nice fat bee lurching from flower to flower as I picked a handful this morning. I hope he remembers to come back.

I acquired some new seeds from the local seed library and got them started in the house yesterday. Do you have a seed library in your town? I love it and I am telling everyone who’ll give me the time of day to stop and check out some seeds. My neighbor politely asked me not to tell his wife, a dear friend who shares my gardening compulsions, but I had to inform him that he was too late. She was already making her list. I am going to ask her to join me and Plant a Row for the Hungry.

I’ve harvested enough cucumbers to start making pickles. I found what I hope will be a good recipe for producing authentic, city-kosher-deli-tasting pickles. A good pickle is hard to find and I have never much cared for the sweet, bread-and-butter types. I will know in about a week whether the recipe is worthwhile and if it is, I will share it with you.

Wishing you just enough rain and hoping the tornadoes stay far away.