Garden Journal: Week of 7/25

Hannah here, writing to you after another hot week in the garden.  Between the strong, sunny heat everyday this week and our persistent watering of most of the plants, everything has shot up and is flowering beautifully.

A couple of happy sunflowers

We were shocked by how much the corn has taken off even without watering or rain (30% chance of rain in Charlottesville means nothing) and Rachael measured the tallest stalk at 12ft 8in!  We also have some hairy ears of corn popping up and cow peas swirling up the stalks.

Lily and me in front of the corn (for reference, I'm about 5ft 5in)

Corn ear

Cow peas flowering

One of my favorite corners of the garden is the Herb Room, located in the back and to the right of the greenhouse, because it is full of flowering plants.  We’ve had to stake a lot of them up to keep them looking beautiful.  (Rachael’s note: we are using bamboo for supports and grosgrain ribbon to fasten plants to the bamboo stakes.  While grosgrain ribbon is commonly used to make crafts and wrap gifts, traditional uses–such as bookbinding, garment-making, and shipping–take advantage of its corded structure, which distributes pressure evenly, thanks to a heavy weft.  We think this structure lends itself nicely to tying up plants without creating any points of stress or weakness.  We’ll let you know how this experiment turns out!)

Bright yellow Tansy flowers

Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), one of Erica's favorites

If you look closely around the perimeter of the garden, you’ll see that cotton bolls are starting to appear.

Cotton boll

During our workday, we cut down the buckwheat so that the clover can grow better, and sent the buckwheat to the compost pile to nourish and enrich our future soil.

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), during and after its much-needed haircut. The clover thanks you, Lily!

Buckwheat is great for the compost pile

After a quick lesson from Lily, Rachael harvested seeds from the dead nutmeg plant (Nigella sativa) by breaking open the seed pods to get the tiny black seeds out.  We ate a few, and they reminded us of eating naan, which makes sense since they are often used in Indian cuisines.

Nutmeg seeds (Nigella sativa)

Dried nutmeg plant bouquet

Finally, our passionflower is starting to flower!  The flowers are the most unique blooms I have ever seen, and I can’t wait to have a trellis put up for them to continue to climb and flower.  In fact, we will begin building the passionflower trellis this coming Tuesday (8/2).  Come on by if you would like to lend a hand!

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

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