If you love rhubarb in pies or tarts, you might as well grow it; it is so easy. I planted three Valentines (a variety of rhubarb), but failed to water them when we took an extended vacation, and wouldn’t you know it, it didn’t rain once in four weeks! Two died, but the one that lived (barely) came back (with a little water) to be the most wonderfully productive plant. It is also very showy.
Funny thing, though, about rhubarb. It sends up great big flower-like heads. They are pretty in their own right and make an unusual cut flower for a vase. But you will always want to keep these flowers removed, for they will sap the plant of its strength, and instead of making new stalks, it will make seed.
Only the stalks are edible because the leaves have poisonous oxalic acid. They need a rich, fertile soil and deep watering when dry. Don’t harvest all the stalks until the third year to allow the crown and root to become strong. It will need divided like peony in its 8th to 10th year. Plants started from seed seldom thrive.
The big flower stalks are hollow, so they will make great play things for imaginative children. For more on rhubarb, go here.
This cherry-rhubarb pie is to whet your appetite! You can grow rhubarb 🙂
Now for radishes: Right now in the garden I’ve let some radishes go to seed. We love them when they are young and tender, but they become yucky and woody after the first 35-40 days from sowing. Still, they are said to serve a good purpose if you let them hang around.
For generations it has been a gardening rule of thumb to plant radish among vegetables and herbs to help these plants. This is what the experts say:
“Plant this root vegetable throughout the garden to deter squash borers, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, cabbage worms, slugs and flies among many pests. Radishes make a good companion plant to beets, beans, carrots, squashes, melons, cucumbers, and spinach-just to name a few. Keep radish away from broccoli, kholrabi, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and turnips.
Allow mature plants to go to seed to lure corn borers away from crops. Radish planted amongst spinach lure leaf miners away from the spinach.”
Once the plants finally produce viable seed I will show you how to save this valuable seed from year to year to help in your garden.
Squash vine borers and squash bugs are my No. 1 enemy, and I will do almost anything to be victorious over them…without chemicals. I would LOVE to know what you have found successful.
I hope using radishes will help, but here is another tip: Louise Riotte, in her book Carrots Love Tomatoes, says, “Squash planted either earlier or later than usual often will escape insect damage. Here in Oklahoma I find fall-planted squash almost entirely insect-free.”
Lastly, have any of you ever had a close encounter with tree swallows? If you put out a few gourds in your garden area next year in the first week of March, it is likely that they will nest and you will have a decrease in your mosquito population. They are not as territorial as other birds, and 100 feet apart is ideal.
Watching tree swallows swoop and dive for insects is exhilarating; having them allow you as close as four feet to snap a photo is pure pleasure. They are very docile for a wild bird; I wonder if they know they are too swift for us. We love these birds! They will let us get within 4′ of them without any sign of fear even once the eggs had hatched.
The young have just fledged and still appear a bit awkward, unlike their acrobatic parents. To watch these graceful birds feed their young when they are still unable to accurately swoop and dive (or so it appears) to catch an insect on the wing is fascinating.
We have realized, too, that this year is different. The normal spring rains did not materialize, and we are going on the third month of less than 1/2″ of rain. There are few flying insects or mosquitoes to be had. It is a bit scary to think that they may not be able to find enough food.
“The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
~Psalm 145: 15-16
Thanks for reading!