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Besides the warm weather, do you know what I love most about summer? It’s the most colorful time of the year. Everywhere I look, whether it’s in the wild or around the lawn, beautiful blooms abound.
Here on the farm, I have a bumper crop of hairy vetch and honeysuckle. That beautiful purple spire of the hairy vetch sets off the yellow and cream blooms of the honeysuckle covering the banks. As the heat and humidity rise, the scent of the blooms fill the air. I love summer, and it’s almost here.
Summer officially arrives this Friday, June 21. Even if I didn’t have a calendar, I could tell the date just by watching for one wildflower, the orange day lily that dots the roadsides. The wooly blue violets come next, followed close behind by lavender field thistle and the white umbrellas of Queen Anne’s Lace. All spread among a hundred shades of green and all provided by Mother Nature. Add to that, your own green thumb gallery and we have a masterpiece of color for months.
On Sunday, June 23 at exactly 7:30 a.m., the full moon officially arrives, but I’m going to enjoy it Saturday night. And I hope you’ll join me. Anywhere you are on Saturday night, please take some time outside to look at what is known as the full Rose Moon or full Strawberry Moon. This month it is also a supermoon, meaning that it will be closer to earth than any other time of the year.
The moon, Earth and the sun will all be aligned, with the Earth in between. It will even have a super pull on the tides, rising them higher than any other time of the year. Those of us who are cops or teachers know the other effects of the full moon, primarily on people. Wacky behavior happens on a full moon night, but here’s the thing, it happens in plants, too.
The moon offers a low light, compared to the sun’s high intensity light. This additional low light from a full moon actually intensifies flowering. Those that have grown flowers inside under lights know the effects of lengthening the hours of light, an abundance of blooms. A full moon has a similar effect. It affects the biorhythms of all living things. Pretty cool, huh?
The additional hours of summer sun and full moon light will mean faster growth and all you have to do to find the proof is look at the weeds in your garden. I swear they grow faster than our vegetable plants. My schedule being what it is, I do most of my gardening on Sunday. I can spend hours weeding one Sunday with the anticipation of laying mulch the next, only to find myself weeding again. It makes for some very long Sundays.
Most of you know that I like to try growing something different each summer. This summer it’s peanuts. My grandfather used to grow them, but I have never tried them in Kentucky. It should be interesting to watch and by late September I’ll be harvesting the little goobers.
Peanuts are grown underground and they actually provide more protein than many meats. They also offer fiber, vitamins, minerals and absolutely no cholesterol.
How’s that for a healthy snack. You can eat them raw, roast them or spread them on some bread.
The soil for peanuts needs to be loose and well draining.
You plant them two inches deep and eight inches apart. Once the plant is up six inches, loosen the soil around the plant to make it easy for the tips to then burrow down into the ground. That’s where the peanuts will form. Once they’ve started that underground growth, mound more soil and then mulch the top of the soil with newspaper and straw. It takes about 100 days to harvest.
Now, go see what new things you can find to grow this summer. It’ll add to the interest of the garden and hopefully add to the pantry shelves as well. Celebrate the summer solstice by growing something, picking something or just admiring something Mother Nature has served up on our plate. Take advantage of our “extended day” and dance in the light of the super silvery moon. Think of it this way, with all the other silly behavior going on that night, no one will think twice about what you’re doing out in the yard, so enjoy. Happy Growing.
Cheryl Steenerson is the gardening columnist for The Anderson News. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.