Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lammas and the Height of Summer

August 1 is known as the feast of Lammas to the Anglo-Saxons and their cultural descendants, and Lughnasadh to the Celts. Both holidays celebrate the first harvest of grain and berries.

Here in Texas, it's different. You saw what my garden looks like in my last post! The first week of August is statistically the hottest week of the year in Texas. If the Summer Solistice is like the noon of the year, then Lammas is 2 or 3 pm, when the temperature peaks. Sure, the days have been getting shorter ever since the solstice, but the days are still longer than the nights, and will be until late September, so the heat added to the system is still greater than the heat lost, and temperatures continue to rise. This may be something to be celebrated in Northern Europe, but here we're still longing for it to cool down, when we can finally emerge from our air-conditioned cabin fever into a refreshing Texas autumn.

Right now I'm fiddling with seed packets. It's time to get ready for the fall planting season. August and September is when I get to start my cole crops in pots. I've got my broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and collard seeds out. I can plant them in a flat in the shade, or put them under my growlight in the garage, to shelter them from the intense sun for about a month until I can plant them out. They'll grow throughout the winter. Winter is really the best time in Texas for green vegetables. They love the light frosts.

Out in the garden I've put down more clear plastic where the plants have succumbed to the heat. I might as well use the heat to my advantage and kill some more Bermuda grass. Those plots will be turned up in fall, hopefully weed and grass free, ready for the winter crops to take over.

By the way, Lammas is also opposite Candlemas or Imbolg in the wheel of the year, which is when I started this blog, so that means I've been able to keep up with this thing for half a year.

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