After discovering the red banded leaf rollers in our apple trees, Caroline and I when and picked as many rolled up leaves as we could, and threw them away. Then we bagged the apple buds. There are lots of bagging options out there from traditional Japanese waxed paper, to paper lunch sacks to ziploc bags.
I decided that we would go the ziploc bag route after reading that with ziploc I wouldn’t need to staple the bags. I’m not 100% sure that these bags will stay on through some of the summer wind storms, but I figure it’s worth a shot.
After cutting the corners off the bags, we zipped them up around the apple buds. Where there were more than one bud coming out of the same place we pinched off all but one or two of the buds. We left one on branch tips and smaller branches, and two on the thicker branches.
The idea behind bagging apples is to protect them from bugs without the need for pesticides. If it works, I’ll probably keep bagging until our tree is too big to bag easily.
Exploding Pressure Cooker
I’ve been a huge fan of pressure cookers since I was an exchange student in Brazil in 1998/99. They use them every day there to cook beans for lunch and dinner, and I’ve never seen one explode. My host mom had to tell me not to play with the pressure regulator a few times and told me about how if a pressure cooker exploded it could break a hole in the cement ceilings.
Tonight Caroline had put on some black beans and I was working in the living room. All of a sudden there was a loud pop and a wet whooshing hissing noise. That noise was immediately followed by dripping sounds, kids yelling (WHAT WAS THAT. IS THERE A FIRE?!) and a surprised sound from Caroline.
Somehow the emergency release valve on the pressure cooker had blown.
I think that the valve is just getting old. It’s a little loose in the lid, and not as squishy as it used to be. No one was hurt, and dinner turned out OK, but there were little purple droplets of bean juice everywhere. Especially the ceiling.
I have a replacement valve in my Amazon.com shopping cart right now.
This corner that has been used for pole beans the last few years is now home to horseradish (in the corner). Tonight we weeded the rest of this patch to plant some Oregano and Star of Bethlehem flowers.
There are lots of good weeds to hate, but tonight I’m going to hate grass. not the nice smooth grass that grows gently across the lawn between the dandelions, but the stuff that grows in clumps and pops up everywhere it shouldn’t.
I hate this grass mostly because it’s hard to get it all out. Here’s my big catch of the night. This was the only clump of grass within several feet. The root is a little longer than 3 feet long. It ran in a straight line along the fence and then ducked under the fence into the neighbors yard, so I couldn’t actually see how long the full root was.
When you’re weeding grass, you never know which way the root is going to go, and you have to just hope that it doesn’t tangle with the roots of something you don’t want to disturb.
That’s why I’m hating grass tonight.
Planting Star of Bethlehem Flowers and Oregano
In the patch of dirt we weeded above, the horseradish lives in the corner. To the right I planted oregano. To the left we planted some Star of Bethlehem flowers.
An excellent gardener and friend of ours divided her peonies for us this year, which we planted a few weeks ago. This last Sunday she surprised us at Church with this bag of Star of Bethlehem bulbs.
Here’s what they should look like. It’s a photo of a print out of a scan of a photo that she took in 2007, so sorry about the quality.
The bulbs are only hardy to -10* F, so we’ll need to dig them up each fall. This is the first time I’ve dealt with flowers with bulbs, and the first time I’ve had planted something that needed that sort of overwintering care. If our flowers turn out as nice as hers, it will be worth it.