solstice! poison ivy 101; garlic scapes (but not bulbs, yet); cabbage worms

Published: Sun, 06/21/15

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solstice! poison ivy 101; enjoying garlic scapes (but not bulbs, yet); damn those cabbage worms

Hello ,

No, poison ivy was not put on the planet to punish mankind, or boost antihistamine sales. As with every native plant—and yes, Toxicodendron radicans is an American native—it has an important role in the bigger scheme, supporting wildlife and providing erosion control.

With help from Dr. Susan Pell, get a much closer look at it from a very safe distance, and hopefully learn to manage around poison ivy better, while giving it the respect it deserves.
'days are longer,' but not for long

“Days are longer,” I wrote ever so carefully 54 years ago, hoping for an A in penmanship. It was May 4, as in 5/4 (if you like numerology, I was born in 1954 to boot). So did conscious thought or coincidence bring the faded page above from my earliest writings to mind yesterday, on the solstice eve? Happy solstice, happy summer (though I can't say "days are longer" after today, till December).
garlic scapes: out of the garden, onto the menu

About a month before the bulbs will be ready, my hardneck garlic sends up an early bonus crop: scapes. They’re on the menu here, nightly, in late June.
plus: not time for garlic harvest yet! (how to tell when)

Knowing when to dig your garlic bulbs is all about reading the leaves. A lot of you are extra-eager, and asking me—so this is a good one to review so you don’t rush things:
trouble in the brassica patch?

Have they found your cabbage, broccoli, kale and other brassicas yet? I'm talking about "cabbage worms," those caterpillars who may be making a mess of things right now.
Margaret Roach