SAGE HILL FARMS-
JULY and The Herb Garden~

Summer is in full swing and happening---most of all in the gardens.

July is the busy month regardless what the garden consist of. Vegetables are all maturing and must be harvested almost on a daily basis.

The herb gardens here are testing my ability to keep up.

If you grow herbs then you are aware that once they bolt (flower or seed) the growing cycle ends. Bolting can happen much earlier than normal when conditions are right...or wrong as it actually is.

In order to keep new growth coming we must keep the flowering cut back.

One way to accomplish this without wasting a lot of your herbs is to cut the flowered stem back to about midway of the plant. This will force new growth and you can hang dry the flowers and use them in pretty arrangements for the table or porch.

They can also be added to the dried herb blends and used in cooking.

If these are not options for you just cut and let the excess fall to the ground, they will die and compost back into the soil...so all is not wasted.

In The Kitchen - with Herbs

Used imaginatively, herbs can add an exciting new dimension to cooking. The culinary role of herbs, from the most simple parsley sauce to the most sophisticated pate' aux fines herbs, is essentially that of giving a dish character.

Stuff a chicken with tarragon, for example, roast it and you have a classic French dish. Substitute dill for the tarragon and the dish is transformed to a central European fare. Stuff the chicken with sage and onion and you have a British dish that crossed the Atlantic with the Pilgrims.

Don't be afraid to challenge your own knowledge...test the waters, have fun, and enjoy.

SOME THINGS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW~

Myth: A layer of gravel at the bottom of plant pots aids drainage.
Fact: Water does not move easily from a layer of finer-textured material to a coarsely textured one. The coarser the underlying matter, the longer a pot takes to drain. So skip the gravel. (To prevent the potting mixture from spilling out of drainage holes-which are a must-as well as to let air in and keep bugs out, use a piece of window screening, or a coffee filter in the bottom.)

Myth: Plants wonÂ’t grow under evergreens because dropped needles make the soil acidic.
Fact: The acidity of soil depends mostly on the underlying bedrock. The real reason plants don't thrive under evergreens is the soil's extreme dryness and low fertility. That's because the trees cast dense shade, take up most available moisture and nutrients, and shed rainwater to the edge of their canopies, keeping conditions dry below. For success beneath evergreens, choose shade- and drought-tolerant plants, water and fertilize regularly and mulch to preserve moisture.

Myth: Crushed eggshells repel slugs.
Fact: Eggshells will slow slugs down a little, but it doesn't repel or kill them. Insecticidal diatomaceous earth, however, works very well. This natural substance consists of fossilized skeletons of marine and freshwater organisms crushed into powdered glass-like pieces. When slugs get it on their bodies, they lose water rapidly through tiny cuts, then dry up and die.

GOOD THINGS TO KNOW~

Garlic as a pest repellent: Repels whiteflies, aphids and beetles. Peel the cloves of a garlic bulb and chop in a blender along with two cups of water, blending thoroughly. Strain the mixture, then dilute with about 2 gallons of water for spraying.

When watering - water deeply so the roots will go deep to drink...if you water lightly and too often, the water stays on the surface and the roots will climb to the top for the water, causing your plants to be shallow rooted and easy to break, blow over or disease prone.

Water in the AM to give your plants moisture for the day and to allow for drying time before the sun goes down.

Wet or damp plants attract insects at night.

Soaker hoses are a great addition to any garden. Remember the soil needs the water... not the foliage.

If you feel your garden needs extra fertilization, opt for seaweed, kelp or Fish Emulsion because these are naturally rich in minerals.

Herbs only need feeding once or twice, no more, during a season...providing your soil is healthy and strong.

SOMETHING NEW~

Sage Hill Farms has added a new addition to the website....another arm of the Vintage store.

Please take a tour of the Vintage Store and let us know your thoughts. www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com/store/vintagestore.html

Please check in often as we are still adding items on a daily basis.

Much gratitude goes to my trusted and talented VA-Vanessa Shelton; she keeps us moving in the right direction. You can find Vanessa here if you have need of help:
Vanessa's Ryze Page or email her at info@vanessasdesk.com.


PEOPLE AND PLACES WE KNOW AND LOVE~

Ginger Marks Ryze Page
www.documeantdesigns.com

http://twitter.com/KidsCuliChefs
www.kidsculinaryadventures.com


A SPECIAL TREAT TO BEAT THE HEAT~

CUCUMBER COOLER

2 large cucumbers
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of sea or kosher salt

Slice 1 cucumber thin and set aside
Peel, seed and coarsely chop remaining cucumbers
Puree chopped cucumber with lemon and lime juice, salt, and 1 cup water in a blender

Strain into a large pitcher through a fine-mesh sieve, using a ladle to extract as much juice from the pulp as possible
Add 5 cups water and cucumber slices with a few ice cubes and serve.

Yummy and refreshing~

Happy Summer~

Happy summer days from our house to yours~

Bea Kunz