September Gardening 2016

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

Years ago, when we lived in Bedford, NY, the children’s busy schedule didn’t allow me much time to work outside. I would take the cooking timer to the garden and put it on the fence trying to do as much work as I could before the bell rang and I had to stop to meet the school bus. This summer, with a houseful of grandchildren, I was back to “minute timer gardening”. Between children, the heat and the endless drought my garden really suffered. It was definitely survival of the fittest and that turned out to be primarily weeds! The vegetable garden

Pheasant picked tomato.
Pheasant picked tomato.

suffered the most with the addition of four pheasants, who set up residence and enjoyed pecking at our ripe tomatoes. They also liked the squash-family seeds, which they picked out of the ground as quickly as I planted them. The plants that escaped were turnips, beets, lettuce and swiss chard. The dahlias, I so lovingly stored last winter, all grew into plants with singed leaves and no flowers. I am hopeful that as the temperature cools, they might produce some late blooms. But good old workhorse plants like autumn joy, day lilies and a variety of Asian lilies from John Scheepers all did well in spite of the lack of water. The roses were lovely in June, but never really got revved up for a second bloom later in the summer. The Copper King hibiscus in my field garden, were spectacular, but some insect shredded the leaves of the plants. Luckily they are viewed from a distance, so it really didn’t matter too much.

I think the drought has been the most serious problem for gardeners this summer and I was interested to hear from Tiggy Ski that she had great success growing vegetables in her vertical aeroponic Tower Garden This new method of growing is probably the way to go for all of us, if water shortages continue in our new “global warming”.  Tiggy planted organic seeds in small “rockwool” cubes that are made to fit into the Tower Garden tubes. After a couple of weeks the seedlings were ready to put into the tower. At the base of the tower is a reservoir that holds 20 gallons of water. You put a nutrient blend into the water to feed the seedlings. The water solution cascades down the tower about every 15 minutes “delivering the ideal amounts of oxygen, water and nutrients to the plants.” In a couple of weeks the Ski’s were enjoying a variety of vegetables, greens and herbs. Tiggy said she would take a hose and shower the produce growing in the tower and then take a pair of clippers and cut off just what they wanted to eat that day. You can’t get fresher food than that and the water is continually circulated without depleting the Island water supply. The other bonus is that plants growing in the tower would certainly be a challenge for pheasants and rabbits to enjoy!

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USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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