Blaska Experimental Work Farm (and Penal Colony) here in the badlands of Madison WI is receiving some major heat units from the local solar-power monopoly, as well we should in the middle of July. (The climate isn’t changing THAT much!) Just recompense from a cool and wet June.
The unlettered field hands have been mowing the lawns extra high, as directed by their cruel (but fair) overseer. (As they labored, they sang their primitive work songs from the Black Sabbath catalog.)
Kentucky bluegrass likes cool feet and should withstand the 90-degree F heat being forecasted. Also said to crowd out weeds. We are trying to reduce chemicals. (Blaska also loves puppies.)
The overseer does wish the white clover drilled into the front lawn last year had taken hold. Probably too shady. Love the look of all those little heads, like white caps on an ocean of green. The legume makes its own nitrogen; deep roots keeps the lawn green.
The Work Farm’s stand of Monarda is magnificent. (AKA bee balm, bergamot.) May have planted a couple a few years ago but they have naturalized beautifully. We get our fair share of hummingbirds, which relish the flower. Also filling feeders with the clear sugar water.
Speaking of naturalized, that’s what the milkweed is doing. Totally wild. Used to pull them but now weed around them. Good-looking plant and fragrant flower. Said to be catnip for butterflies but have seen few so far. Are they being turned away at the Mexican border? (Trolling the Trump haters.)
This ownership never planted bluebells but they are everywhere. If they are invasive, we’re not complaining. They have taken over the area under my spruce tree, now that I have purchased more real estate by pruning up to shoulder height.
Pole beans are doing better than last year thanks to the heat. The field hands allowed the beets get weedy.
Spring-planted asparagus roots sending up wispy, feathery foliage. Had allowed the beds to go to weed but now hacking through the overgrowth to give them sun. Nourished the tender shoots with a taste of Jung’s 17-16-28 NPK slow-release fertilizer. The old-fashioned Mary Washingtons are doing better than the hybrid, all-male Jersey Knights. (Maybe you cannot fool Ma Nature.)
Ornamental grasses look good, too. Will give them a shot of nitrogen soon. They will thank me later with full seed heads and fall color.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Only 57% of Wisconsin farm fields were said to be in good condition this week compared to 75% a year ago. Hoping this summer’s heat — and reprieve from daily drownings — will do the trick. Everyone has a stake in agriculture’s success.