Monday, July 21, 2014

edible gardens

The classic lethargy of a warm summer day set in early for me. Out there on the porch, at breakfast. Still with wet hair after morning showers.


I should note -- peaches are peaking right now. So the fruit bowls have to fit it all -- the peaches (not ours this year: our trees were lost in the polar vortex and the new ones wont produce for several years), the Michigan blueberries and the garden raspberries.


I stay on the porch for several hours after, reading. (With a view toward the sheep shed and barn.)


But then I feel a pang of guilt for neglecting our fruit and vegetable garden. Raspberries -- yes, I picked those. Strawberries this year have been shared between chipmunks (they go for the berries) and Martha the groundhog (she eats the plants).

Ed has been more or less tending to the vegetable plot, but it it's tough going back there, by the prairie grasses: the ground now has that summer hardness, so pulling weeds is a chore. It's sunny, too, and there are bugs -- more mosquitoes than we have by the farmhouse where we've been playing with a home brew of water and cedar oil which seems to put them off quite a bit. So the vegetable garden is a beastly place right now. Very different than it was in the months of hope and promise, as we planted our 96 tomatoes and rows of corn, peas and beans back in May.

But once there, I shake off the feeling of discomfort. The sun feels warm, yes, but I haven't really felt that sticky humid air that comes with the season up to now. And once I get into the rhythm of weeding and watering, I lose track of time.

And there's so much to admire! Yes, there are the disasters: our peas are routinely being devoured by some animal that makes its way here especially for their sugary sweetness. Ditto brussel sprouts. But the corn is lovely right now! And last year's grape planting project is being supported by a beautiful grape trellis that Ed built while I was away. So the grapes appear to be thriving!

grapes, supported by a wire

corn, needing no support

And the tomatoes! Maybe we wont have 96 robust plants, but nearly that many and they are doing just fine!

Perhaps the biggest surprise is how the cucumbers took off. We planted the seeds directly into the ground this year and today I picked the first one. As you can see, there will be others!


Too, between the tall milkweed that Ed refuses to pull out, even though it blocks the sun for several of our veggies (we need the milkweed for the butterflies!), I find a wholesome, thriving row of French beans!


And now I'm truly motivated and it is very late in the afternoon before I'm done (having decided to also water our young orchard -- for once a thriving young orchard, as Ed's cages have effectively kept the deer away).


Time for supper. Well that's easy! Cheeper eggs, scrambled, with garden chives. Garden beans. A salad with garden cucumber. The leftover raspberry cake for dessert. How can you not love summer?!

I'll leave you with a handful of daylilies, clamoring for attention in their stellar, short moment of bloom.