Goodness, has it been three weeks already? Before we start, a quick video:
Now let's get to it!
Summer is in full-swing here on the homestead. I continue to pick salad greens and chives, and actually have more than I can use. The weather is warm enough now that the spinach and lettuce have quit, so I picked the rest of the spinach and will finish the lettuce in a salad today. The chard seems relatively unbothered by the heat, so I will continue to put it in stir-fries and sneak it into sauce. Whatever is left will be rinsed, chopped and frozen if I can't keep up. This the best I have ever done with greens, as I actually got them in the bed early enough, and bought enough to really make a difference.
Surprisingly, the broccoli and cauliflower did develop heads. Soon after, however, they separated. The broccoli can probably still be used but the cauliflower it too far gone. I may just let it go to seed and practice my seed-saving. I have an entire book on the subject that I have not yet opened. In the latest photo of the garden bed, you can make out the broccoli. To the left, in front of the chives (looks like spiky grass) you can just make out the cauliflower.
The tomatoes are now coming into production. My little one was out the garden and noticed the shiny green globes first. I have a bell pepper plant in a pot that seems entirely unenthusiastic about life. I don't think it's grown an inch since I transplanted it several weeks ago.
The blueberries have begun to ripen, and the kids and I have already enjoyed a few. The wineberry canes are now laden with fuzzy red pods, just waiting to burst into red, delicious fruit. Those usually peak around July 4th, so we don't have to wait much longer. I've been saving the containers from the cherry tomatoes I buy in the store. It's perfect for gathering berries to give to friends. Apparently my husband has already promised several people wineberries. We plan to get alot for ourselves, I will rinsed and freeze them and use them for muffins, smoothies, fruit syrup and pound cake--if we don't eat them all fresh!
Two years ago I threw handfuls of wildflower seeds into some disturbed dirt. Some of the flowers keep coming back. Black-eyed Susans, maybe?
Elsewhere on the property, my hydrangeas survived a late frost and are blooming beautifully. I seem to have accidentally gotten the ph just right to make them purple. I love purple flowers, so this makes me ridiculously happy.
One thing having a garden will teach you, (and will teach you over and over again until you get it), is that carelessness will cost you. I had noticed the weeds growing up between my potted blueberries and thought, "I need to put some cardboard down". Well, the weeds got taller and taller, as weeds will do. One day last week I finally got around to it, moving the pots and putting down boxes from a Costco run. I moved a pot and the grass next to it rustled. Something slithered under the cardboard close by. Uh oh. I flipped the cardboard up to find this:
Now, as you can imagine, I was less than thrilled by this development. But it was my own fault for not staying on task earlier in the season. Luckily, this is NOT one of the venomous snakes known to inhabit this area. Some online research determined that this is not a copperhead. I didn't think it was, since I have actually seen baby copperheads on my property before, but I had to double check to be sure. This is a northern brown snake, known for eating mice. Thank you, Mr. Snake. Go in peace. (I'm pretty sure I heard it snatch a mouse in the tall weeds just outside the garden fence a few minutes ago when I was taking photos for this post)
The bright yellow flowers that signal the beginning of zucchini appeared on my plant about two weeks ago. I was all excited, until the day I got careless and left the gate open overnight. I came out the next morning and the flowers were gone. Marauding deer, no doubt. I'll have to wait for more blossoms and keep the darn gate CLOSED! I can't blame the deer. They are doing what deer do.
The first of the japanese beetles have appeared. My daughter came in to report their presence on one of the dwarf blueberries planted in the ground. Green tulle and pipe cleaners to the rescue! I immediately shrouded the bush. For my larger plants, I will have to coat them in Surround. I KNOW I have some, but I haven't been able to find it yet. If I can't soon I need to order some or preferably find some locally.
THE NEXT PHASE
The landscape architect came and presented me with a plan. It's got tons of fruit trees, berry bushes, medicinal herbs, plants for beauty. It looks well-laid out, and he even presented some plants that I have never heard of. Look and see!
Now it's a matter of budget and scheduling. We may not do it all in one fell swoop, so we will have to decide what gets done first. Trees will have to be on the "do now" list. They take longer to get established and produce.
What's homesteady with you?