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Mint Lovers Beware!

If you’re going to plant mint, of any kind, please beware. Mint is invasive and will take over everything and spread everywhere. It’s a great companion plant for many vegetables, but mint loves to spread it’s wings wherever it wants. So, if you’re going to plant it, make sure it’s in an area with lots of space and away from plants that like space.

My mint went from tiny little bush last year, to giant Godzilla this year. Personally, I don’t mind. The strawberries nearby, however, do mind. Strawberries are pretty invasive themselves and now my mint and strawberries are fighting for dominance. The mint is winning.

Mint and strawberries don’t go well together for a number of reasons, so they are not good companions. I did not originally plant my mint in this spot. A person who shall not be named (my dad) decided it was a good idea to move said mint after I specifically said not to because they would invade everything around them, including said persons strawberries. I guess we’ll see who wins this battle.

 

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Green Beans

Green beans are a yummy snack and a great addition to any meal. If you like a good crunch, raw is the way to go. My favorite garden vegetable is fresh green beans and I eat them right in the garden.

Last summer I got these nice big bean bushes (pictured below) from seeds bought in the store. I collected the seeds left over and planted them a few days ago. Lets see how they turn out this year!

Hummingbirds

I saw a hummingbird today, which is really exciting because I don’t have any feeders out. My mom has spotted a hummingbird twice before around our garden. My suspicion is the nice, red, juicy tomatoes we have. We have a lot of yellow and orange marigolds and nasturtiums around, but very little red flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to red colors. I’m guessing that the tomatoes are attracting them and that’s cool with me. It’s a rare site and awesome to see a hummingbird hanging around the garden.

Just A Little Rant About Monarchs

I’m a little peeved. I was driving down my street a couple of weeks ago and noticed all the beautiful wildflowers and grass was cut all along the sides of the street. This may be insignificant to most people, but to me, it’s a really big deal because of all the milkweed and flowers growing there. It’s extremely important to have milkweed around because Monarch butterflies use them to lay eggs and it’s the only food source for the caterpillars after they hatch. Monarchs are not only pollinators, they are also an indicator species, which help gauge the health of the environment around them and us.

There are a number of reasons why towns and cities cut down roadside weeds, however, I think it’s extremely unnecessary in some cases, especially on a quite street like mine. Weeds are cut down to improve visibility, drainage, or to get rid of invasive weeds. There is a whole list of reasons. The problem is cutting down beneficial weeds, like milkweed, which is extremely important to the environment. Milkweed grows on a lot of roadsides in my area. In my opinion, the weeds on my street weren’t  extremely overgrown and could have been cut a month from now, when it gets cooler and there aren’t as many bugs around. My town hasn’t touched them since mid Spring, if I recall correctly.

Right now, it’s especially important to conserve areas with milkweed and wildflowers because late summer and early fall is migration time for Monarchs and a time when other beneficial insects start preparing for winter. So far, I’ve only seen one Monarch this summer and that’s really sad. They’ve been declining and it’s so important to keep them around.

I follow the NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) on Facebook. They have some really important info on environmental issues, endangered species, and a whole list of other important causes.My info and updates about Monarchs comes mostly from them.   Below is a couple of helpful links and info on Monarchs:

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/sylvia-fallon/keep-calm-and-plant-milkweed

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/peter-lehner/fight-save-butterflies

http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Invertebrates/Monarch-Butterfly.aspx

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/60392.html

Buzzing Bees

I’ve spotted a ton of honey bees all around my flowers and vegetable garden this summer. They’ve helped me with a great deal of pollination and I now have some awesome vegetables because of their hard work. Bees are so important to have and I’m happy about the amount of bees I have around my garden.

I have a special place in my heart for the little buzzers. I grew up with a fascination for bees and wasps. They’ve always intrigued me and I’ve never been afraid of them. I have a great respect for bees. They hold so much power in their tiny bodies and do such a great service to human kind. They are definitely an underappreciated insect.

Blooms of Summer

When summer starts, the flowers come out! These are all the beautiful mid summer blooms around my yard.

Vegetable and Fruit Blooms:

Everything Else:

Sorrel

I have some sorrel growing near my dads garlic field and around our property. It’s a wild edible plant my parents grew up with in Ukraine. When I was a kid, we had it growing in our garden wild and now we have it growing here wild. My mom always called it bunny food, because it’s what rabbits like to eat in the wild.

Sorrel is an edible herb. There are many different types of sorrel and many different uses for it. It grows all over the place here in the northeast United States. It can also be a weed, growing around your garden.

We have sheep sorrel and common wood sorrel. Wood sorrel leaves resemble clover leaves and have yellow or white blooms. Sheep sorrel have reddish/yellow blooms and the leaves resemble a sword.  The leaves of both are a wonderful addition to any salad or soup. The leaves have a nice lemony sour flavor without being too harsh like a lemon. You can eat it raw or cook with it. It’s always a nice snack for me when I’m walking around my yard.