When I first ventured into vegetable gardening I was guided by books. Each step felt tenuous, like treading in the dark. My guide was a carefully drawn plan, each square foot measured, each seed accounted for. With time I relaxed. I learned that seeds grow and that I only need to provide water and shelter.
A few years have passed and now what joy! Borage, calendula, dill, sorrel and chives return on their own to resculpt the landscape. This spring, rabbits devoured the first shoots of sunflowers and greens…so I raised the height of the wire fence, used a large removeable barrel to block the entrance, and planted more seeds. I still make annual plans—plant families rotate from year to year and companions are placed side by side. Beyond my winter dreaming the real garden emerges in a flow of call and response.
This rabbit was on the edge of my garden and probably on edge, with me standing nearby —I wanted to move closer, but knew he would run when I moved. TJ’s Household Haikuprompt ‘Edge’ gave me a way to tell this story with haiku. Some of my readers will recall that earlier this summer there was much munching in my garden—a widespread challenge due to the drought conditions, I am told by a local newspaper. To this day I have been putting carrots out to curb their appetites.
Another summer month has come to an end and it’s time for a garden visit. On the down side, July brought bug bites, hot scorching sun and drought conditions. We’ve had only a few scanty showers. The sight of drooping plants, as shown below, disturbs me but this shot also shows the cucumber vines climbing (a positive sight):
The biggest disappointment this month was animal nibbling by a skunk, rabbit, fisher or other mammal. For the first time my peppers have been eaten…they bit the lower ends off! Onion greens were also taken, as were the tops of several milkweed plants! The solutions? First, I put up enclosures to discourage sampling. I have a few peppers left and hope a few will ripen to red. This shot shows the pepper plants with extra protection:
My second solution is putting out food offerings to keep the critters fed and less interested in my crops. I have put out corn, carrots, and discount zucchini from the store. This shot shows a chomped off milkweed plant and a nibbled zucchini offering.
Thankfully there have been peas, beans, spinach, cucumber and zucchini to pick and a wonderful garlic harvest. And I have a hose that delivers water so the garden hasn’t fried to a crisp like the rest of the world.
By mid-July I dug up all the garlic—not an easy task as the ground was hard. Fresh garlic is attractive (especially when it’s your first garlic harvest):
Welcome to the second 2016 visit to my vegetable garden—all photos were taken in the last days of June. I can’t show every angle so I select shots that I think may be of interest. June was a dry month and I thought growth was slow. Yet when I compared pictures from this time last year, I discovered that some parts of the garden are farther along. I need patience and gained perspective.
I start with the beans. The tall bamboo poles (on my blog masthead) are a statement of growth. I love how pole bean vines wind upwards.
The zucchini plant is growing rapidly. In the bottom left corner: yellow dill umbrella flowers and a single calendula flower bloom. In the upper right corner: bean plants.
Here is a closeup of a calendula flower between the garlic plants. About five years ago, I planted dill and calendula—they have self-seeded ever since.
The cucumber plants are growing:
Peppers are starting to show. They emerge from tiny star flowers.
I harvested three beets today.
Peas emerge from delicate white flowers. They are flourishing and will be finished soon.
Vegetables that didn’t make it to this photo post are winter squash, onions, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli (a story in itself). Thanks for visiting!
When I planted garden sage, I was adding to my collection of cooking herbs. I must admit, I also dreamed of making smudge sticks, but later learned that the varieties of sage used for ceremonial burning are quite different….and it is not pleasant nor healthy to burn garden sage! I tried a few locations, and finally found one where sage would grow happily. In fact they took over…this is the third year now and they are a thriving community, bushy and close, sending up multiple spikes of purple flowers.
This second photo gives a somewhat closer view of the flowers, sharing their stems with many others.
Plants love to congregate. It never ceases to amaze me how, when left to their own devices, plants will grow next to and under each other. Sometimes called weeds, they could be thought of as companions, depending on your perspective at the moment. The main neighbor shown here is a dogwood bush, visited by spittle bugs, which, I am told, will not damage the plant. And finally, the most interesting part of this photo for me is the surprise collection of white sage flowers!
This is my first year successfully growing garlic plants (second attempt) and I am excited. When I say ‘successful’, I mean that I have large garlic plants growing out back–the ultimate success will be garlic bulbs at harvest time.
I have just learned that garlic plants send flower buds out on round stocks that curl and spiral. They’re called ‘scapes’. They can be snapped off and eaten–in fact you want to remove them to promote the growth of the bulbous roots. I have a small container of scapes in the fridge ready to be used like garlic in summer salads and stir fries.
It struck me that these curling scapes might be of interest to those taking photos of curves for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge. My first picture shows what a scape looks like when snapped off the plant. The second photo shows two scapes curling beside each other.