Fresh and tasty goodness

New PEI Irish Cobbler potatoes and yellow beans! There is nothing in my mind that says ‘I love PEI in the summer’ more than these two vegetables. My mouth is watering a little bit just thinking about it now.

By the middle of July the early vegetables including leaf lettuce, peas, beet greens, and maybe even some baby beets will be ready to eat. This year started out a little later than normal in the spring, but everything is growing fast and catching up. This is very common in the gardening world. For me it demonstrates the resilience of nature as the plants are adapted to the variability of the weather.

If you didn’t already do so, you can make a late planting of beans, peas, and even short season potatoes in early July. These will be ready in late September as long as the weather cooperates. I find it enjoyable to have some fresh “new” veggies late in the season.

When you are tending your garden and keeping the weeds in check, keep an eye for pests on the veggies. Cole crops such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are prone to damage from several kinds of caterpillars in July. If you observe white moths flying around the patch on a sunny day and landing on the cabbage, that would be the females laying eggs, which would give you a clue that some control measures will need to be taken. Floating row cover, and a spray of diatomaceous earth or insecticidal soap are some means of controlling this pest. A lot of insect damage can occur in only a few days so keep a close eye on them.

Slugs are a pest sometimes seen in gardens and they especially like lettuce and bean leaves. If you sprinkle cornmeal around the perimeter of the vegetables you wish to protect, this will create a barrier as slugs do not generally like to pass over the sharp bits in the meal. It can also be spread underneath individual plants such as tomatoes to keep slugs at bay. Another way to control slugs is to reduce the mass of green foliage surrounding your garden or between the rows. This keeps the slugs from hiding in the foliage and moving into your garden.

If the weeds or the heat starts to get to you, take a break from the gardening fun and come back to finish later. Have you ever tried old-fashioned lemonade, it is easily made with ice, water, lemons, and some sugar. It is very simple but is such a thirst quencher on a hot summer day. Well, once I get this weeding finished, maybe I will grab a large tumbler of lemonade and go down to the beach to enjoy the fresh sea air and listen to the peaceful rhythm of the waves. If I am lucky I will see a few wild strawberries on my way there.

Stay safe. Happy Gardening.

About Christopher Dunbar

Christopher lives in western PEI along with his spouse and 4 kids, on a property that was once owned by his great grandparents. He grew up in a large farming family and has deep island roots. This rural background and exposure to outdoor living has given him a keen interest in our maritime culture and the many plant types that grow here. He furthered his interest in growing things by obtaining a master’s degree in in plant biology. Not surprisingly, all of his 25-year career has been involved in agriculture and food. He spends some of his spare time growing berries, flowers, vegetables and tree fruits of all kinds in his gardens. He and his family really enjoy the unique lifestyle that PEI has to offer.
Writing creatively about adventures in rural living is also one of his passions. Feel free to contact him if you want to share any of your interests.

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