Back in March, expecting a hot and dry summer, we named our July event “Give Me Water: Hydrating in the Heat.” Instead, after one short hot spell, we’ve had surprisingly cool days and even brisk evenings. Who knew we’d want our parkas in late July?On Saturday, shivering in the cool afternoon breeze, the gathered group enjoyed Anton’s fresh fruit shaved ice and fruit waters. People chose from lightly-sweetened concentrates of blueberry, mango, lime, or blueberry-pomegranate thinned with coconut water, squeezed over shaved ice. Sweeteners included blue agave, simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water), and Truvia (from Stevia, a plant you can grow at home). They tasted refreshing water with floating pieces of fresh fruit and herbs — watermelon/mint, and strawberry/kiwi. Ms Vernice’s delicious garden-fresh cuisine rounded out the offerings: kale greens, black beans with red and yellow peppers, baked sweet potatoes, and zucchini corn muffins.(See recipes at www.EverythingGoodE2L.org) * up by August 1Everyone warmed up riding Working Bikes’ bike-generator, and hula hooping.Even if we’re not sweating as much as we would at 100 degrees, our bodies need water to cool and lubricate, and for optimal internal functions. Try to drink HALF your body’s weight in ounces of fresh water per day. For example: if you’re 130 pounds, drink ~65 ounces or 8 cups = 1/2 gallon.
Even if humans aren’t feeling the heat, we’ve seen very little rain, and the soil is drying out down in the root zone. When the sky doesn’t provide, the Eat to Live Garden is currently hand-watered, which is laborious and limited.
Plants need water to keep growing green leaves (sun-energy harvesters and plant-sugar producers) and to make seeds and fruits. Remembers, if it contains the seed, it’s a FRUIT! Seeds are power-packed with proteins, starch, and fats to start new plants, and the fruits surrounding seeds are rich in sugars and vitamins. All of these essential processes and nutritious products require WATER.
When watering plants in the garden, deliver water to the full root zone to ensure that the plant gets the most benefit! Watering too shallowly discourages the roots from growing down to moister soil. Watering below the roots where the plant can’t reach just wastes water. Watering soil around the plant encourages other seeds in the soil to sprout and grow — a benefit of dry weather is that it restrains weeds.
1) Rooted, hydrated sunflower. Happy face to the sunshine!
2) Uprooted sunflower — uprooted and it dried out before it was found. Sad and disheartening. But we can take the opportunity to observe its roots and think about how it grows. Its roots are mostly close to the surface (no tap root) and don’t grow broadly away from the plant. Tap rooted plants have an advantage in dry weather — their deepest roots are remain in contact longer with deeper, moist soil.
The Montessori School of Englewood is sending students from their summer program to the Eat to Live Garden on Tuesdays. We’re reviewing the Growth Cycle and meeting plants and critters in the Garden.
This week we made ziplock pickles using cucumbers, apple cider vinegar, garlic salt, black pepper, and (for the intrepid) cayenne pepper. The group saw flowering dill weed in the Garden two weeks ago, and put the matured dill seeds in their pickle bags. April poses with her pickles.
Dill, cilantro, parsley, carrots, and celery are all members of the same plant family and make similar lacy flowers that look like small umbrellas — hence their historic family name, Umbelliferae. See the lovely wild carrot flower — Queen Anne’s lace.