Dog Days of Summer

So, my daughter Tara is finishing up her Master’s in Literature at Glasgow University in Scotland. What I’ve noticed about her besides growing up to be a wonderful young lady, is how smart and intelligent she is. During her college career she has read many novels spanning centuries of time. She knows an incredible amount of “stuff”.

I think to myself, “I want to know that much ‘stuff’.”

But the truth of the matter is I’m too old to follow her academic trail. And I think my mind has atrophied a little bit to the point that I’m not sure I can absorb as much “stuff” as she has. So I take on the simple “stuff”.

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us. But, what puzzles me is what is a dog day? I know what dog years are. I know that a cat has nine lives. What’s a dog day? Well, check this out. Those Romans, they had answers for all kinds of “stuff”. They call the hottest, most humid days of summer “dies caniculares” or “dog days”.

They associated the hottest day of summer with the star Sirius. Sirius is the “dog star” because it’s the brightest star in the constellation Canus Major, “Large Dog”.

Stick that fun fact in your hat, Tara.

But for most of us, the Dog Days of Summer translates as just long, hot, humid days. These are the days that we bob and weave in and out of air conditioned buildings, park in the shade and garden from inside the house by looking out the window. But September is kind of a pivotal month in gardening. Here are some gardening tips for September that will pave the way for a better garden. Here we go.

Tara has a wonderful green thumb (not), so hopefully she’ll learn something from her Pops.

This is a good time of year, Tara, to fertilize your indoor plants. But since you’re moving back home in October, this doesn’t apply to you. You’re off the hook.

For all you green thumb people this is a great time to dig and divide and replant overgrown perennials as they finish blooming.

Now’s a great time to add compost to your soil for winter vegetables.

If you want to plant bulbs, now is a good time to purchase them and place them in the refrigerator for six weeks if they haven’t already been pre-chilled.

Time to take out vegetable plants that have stopped producing and compost them.

If you’ve got fruit trees, fertilize after harvest and top dress with compost. We do this at Maple Rock with horse manure right before the rains come which washes the fertilizers into the soil naturally.

Now, I realize we’ve been blessed with some really great weather of late, but I’m sure the heat will come back. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows, because believe it or not the first day of fall is only 25 days away.

As Fall comes and the days get shorter we can reduce watering slightly, but for now keep your hands off your irrigation clocks. I realize you want to take your seat belt off when the plane’s coming into the gate, but you have to wait until the plane comes to a full and complete stop. So put your hands back in your pockets and don’t touch your irrigation clocks until I tell you it’s safe and I tell you to take them out and move about.

With the Dog Days of Summer here, Maple Rock watermelons have arrived. Join us this Saturday at High Hand for Ryan’s melons.

Here’s a look at Ryan’s melons in the back of his pickup truck grown at Maple Rock. Here are our offerings this weekend – Tendergold, Orangeglo, Cream of Saskatchewan, Crimson Sweet and Moon and Stars.

There’ll also be a few cantaloupes available. Do you remember I bought seeds for a Japanese cantaloupe that sold for 24 grand a pair in Japan? Well, they’re growing and they’re ripening. I’ll let you know when it’s time for tasting. We’ll see what all the fuss was about soon enough.

The Dog Days of Summer bring about Train Day at Maple Rock.

Did I tell you that you will be able to purchase lunch at Train Day? You’ll have a choice between barbecue tri-tip or chicken served with a slaw and corn on the cob. Or a pulled pork sandwich on our very own bread. And for your vegetarian delight, a wonderful pasta with summer vegetables. Need a snack? Chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies.

And if you’d like to wash it down, we’re offering beer, wine and two signature High-Hand cocktails. So come on and have a beer. Why not? You’re not driving the trains. But, if you are, we’ll have lemonade and, of course, watermelon lemonade.

Train Day will also include watermelon fresh picked from the fields and, if the flowers are available, U-Pick It flowers.

Parking is free. Live entertainment, as always.

Tour the garden with a glass of wine.

Tickets are available by clicking here, at the nursery or at Maple Rock on the day of the event.

So, let’s recap Dog Days.

This Saturday, September 1st at High-Hand Nursery, meet Farmer Ryan from Maple Rock. Meet Farmer Ryan’s melons. You can adopt a melon and take it home. They’re very easy to care for and delicious to eat. He’ll be rolling in somewhere around 9ish.

September 15, Train Day, 9-3pm with all the fixins mentioned above. Pick your own flowers, $5 a bouquet. Bring your own clippers and gloves. Have some lunch. Stroll the garden with a cocktail and watch the lazy trains huff and puff through.</