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This past Sunday, June 20 was the Summer Solstice—the first official day of astronomical summer. South of the equator, it is the first official day of winter. On the other hand, meteorologists consider summer as beginning the first day of June and ending the last day of August.
Solstice comes from the Greek words “sol” meaning “sun” and “sistere” meaning “to stop” since it appears as if the sun has temporarily stopped overhead. The Summer Solstice occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer—such countries as Mexico, India, and Egypt. It’s the longest day of the year. Every day, after today, will be a minute or two shorter until the Winter Solstice.
Here, our day will be 14 hours and 45 minutes long. For this one day, all locations inside of the Arctic circle will experience 24 hours of sunlight. In Antarctica, all locations will experience 24 hours of darkness.
As a gardener, summer means I’m just beginning to appreciate the bounty of my summer garden. My annual flowers are in full bloom; I’ve seen a flurry of hummingbirds around my Jacob Cline Bee Balm; gotten my first handful of green beans, a cucumber, and one baby squash. I’ve gotten a good handful of cherry tomatoes already, but that first slicing tomato seems like it’s taking forever to ripen. (Good thing there are fresh local tomatoes at our Farmers Market.)
On the other hand, I’m keeping an eye out for squash bug eggs about now and I’ve already rinsed a few aphids off my Knock-Out rose. I’ve found several happy slugs drowned in the saucers filled with beer I set out.
Because it is getting close to Japanese beetle season, I’ve got Japanese beetle traps up in the back corner of the yard to lure them away from the rose and crape myrtle in the front yard.
Speaking of Japanese beetles, be sure to have traps on hand. They work by means of a “lure” that attracts Japanese beetles, so be sure to place them at the OTHER side of the yard from what they’re going after. If a few do show up on some of your plants, you can spray with Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. It’s a good organic treatment. Be sure to spray about 8:30 at night to give the bees and butterflies a chance to go home first.
Japanese beetle traps are available right here at the Great Big Greenhouse, so get yours before they’re sold out.
By the way, after the Solstice the amount of sunlight gets a little shorter with each passing day. For a sun-lover like me, that’s not a happy thought. On the positive side, I’m looking forward to a bountiful harvest of veggies.
Remember if you’re having a problem in your yard, we’re always here to help.