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Cucumber Companion Plant and Canned Salsa

There is a lovely flower that I have started to grow as a cucumber companion plant that attracts a huge number of bees. I like growing cosmos but the orange cosmos I found seems to be a real bee magnet.

Greetings fellow gardeners,  

This week I melted! It was so hot and there never seemed to be a break from the heat. I am hopeful that we will soon see rain. Regular watering is so important and I also moved a few tender potted plants into shadier spots.

On Pollination

I have had a number of inquiries about slow-growing or no growth on cucumbers. While we often have problems with cucumbers due to lack of water, a primary reason for this slow growth is lack of pollination.  It is one of the major reasons that I include flowers in my vegetable garden. There is a lovely flower that I have started to grow that attracts a huge number of bees. I like growing cosmos but the orange cosmos I found seems to be a real bee magnet. Just one plant is huge and produces a large number of flowers. If you continue to find that there are no cucumbers forming, then take a small paintbrush and brush the yellow flowers and do the pollinating yourself.

Orange Cosmos

On Watering

At present I am hoping that my vegetables will hang in there until the heat breaks. The plastic bottles that I pushed into the pots of my tomatoes have been invaluable in helping to get water to the roots. The black Krim tomatoes have been ripening well and are quite juicy while the tiny yellow pear tomatoes are always in my salads. Heritage tomatoes are very fussy and are not happy with this heat, so my yield has been reduced. Pots of lettuce appreciate my daily watering and the vining vegetables are continuing to produce. The new pole beans are loving the heat as long as the water continues, and the zucchinis seem to be happy to grow. September is ready to make an appearance so many of our vegetables are ready to finish their run. There is still time to plant lettuce and chard and other leafy greens, while carrots and parsnips will continue to thrive well into a hard frost.

Canned Salsa Recipe

Last week I picked a large number of tomatoes and excitedly set about preparing my salsa. My salsa turned out very well and I got a request for my recipe. This recipe is for canned salsa, but you can make salsa without cooking it so that you can eat it right away or store it in the refrigerator. 

 Classic Canned Salsa

8 or 9 cups of chopped tomatoes (you can peel them, but I don’t)

2 ½ cups of chopped green bell peppers

2 ½ cups of chopped onions

1 – 4 jalapenos (depending on how much heat you like. I used one.)

6 – 8 cloves of garlic chopped

6 teaspoons pickling salt

1 cup of white vinegar

1 (12 ounce) can of tomato paste

Put everything in a big pot and simmer for at least 20 minutes

Boil your jars and then add the salsa. You can do a hot water bath as well if you wish.

Enjoy your week.  Judith.

Contact Judith through her Website https://www.lapisdragonarts.com/. Find more weekly Veggie Bites experiences on the Veggie Bites page.

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