The garden is transitioning from spring to summer which can be seen in the new growth that seems to happen overnight. This morning I spent a couple hours weeding, watering, harvesting and enjoying the solitude out there, just me and the bees buzzing around. I've put little dishes of water all through the garden so that the bees have water. In each dish are little rocks for them to stand on so they don't drown.
Today I spotted our first zucchini flower with a little zucchini fruit growing on it. What good timing, we are down to our last two jars of zucchini relish.
It turns out that the huge, beautiful pepper plants that I thought were growing down there by the beehives are actually tomatillos. I realized this when I spotted a tomatillo fruit forming on one of the plants. I really should keep better track of the seeds I'm starting in the house as by the time the plants get outside, they get mixed up and I forget what is growing where. You can see the tomatillo growing on the plant below; it looks like a little lanturn.
There are baby artichokes, too! They look so cute in the center of the plant's massive leaves.
Another sign of summer is the flowers on the tomatoes. The tomato plants have done exceptionally well this year thanks to the giant rocks we encircled them with - they love the warmth that the rocks hold on to overnight.
My favorite row in the garden has peas and tomatoes growing on one side and sage growing on the other. The purple sage flowers are covered with bees. It sounds like the whole row is buzzing when you stand in the midst of it. The peas have reached about 5 feet tall and they are still growing. This year I was quick enough to get some twine across the row to hold the plants up before our first spring windstorm could knock them down. Usually in past years my peas have been knocked onto their sides by now.
We've begun eating peas from these plants. I'm hoping to have a big harvest of peas so we can freeze some.
The warmer weather is also causing noticeable outbreaks of bugs and slugs that are found everywhere munching on the garden's abundance. I've been gathering anywhere from 20 to 150 slugs a day, depending solely on how much time I spend in the garden. Those buggers are everywhere and they are getting bigger each day! They are really easy to spot in the morning when they are traveling across the paths. Every morning when I begin to see them in the garden paths, for some reason the song Travelin' Man by Bob Seger comes to mind.
Travelin' man, love when I can
Turn loose my hand 'cause I'm goin', ah
Travelin' man, catch if you can
But sooner than later I'm goin'
Traveling man, yeah ... aw, hey
A travelin' man, kiss my ass
Slugs are on a mission to destroy my garden. They hide under straw and live in the weeds, then they travel across the path and sneak up the stalks of broccoli, celery, peas and lettuce, eating holes in all the tender leaves. I've been filling giant buckets full of slugs, slug-eaten greens and weeds for the chickens and ducks who love their daily feasts.
The kale is nearly finished flowering and it has now produced all of these seed pods. Inside each pod are tiny seeds that each form a new kale plant. Hundreds of thousands of kale seeds are here in the row. I haven't decided what I'll do about it...should I harvest some seeds for saving or chop down the whole thing and toss it somewhere? If left there long enough, some of the seed pods will drop and new kale plants will begin to grow nearby.
We moved our strawberry plants to three long raised beds near the garden and they are doing fabulously. I'm looking forward to all the strawberries we should be able to enjoy this season.
As the garden grows taller, we should be able to show better photos of the whole garden. Right now, there are empty spaces here and there from where we've pulled out a finished crop or we're waiting for seeds to germinate. Also, something I did differently this year was I planted a little bit of each thing here and there, rather than all in one spot. For example, there are green beans and corn growing in four different spots in the garden. Tomatoes are growing everywhere, and many of them are donors that took root from seeds that remained in the soil over the winter. Other donors include borage, cilantro, parsley and potatoes, and they are growing all over the place. You have to be careful where you step so you don't crush a plant. I just let the plants grow wherever they've sprouted, and are grateful each one is there. But I do know that watering the garden is going to get really interesting once all these plants get full sized and it gets hot and dry outside. If it's anything like last year, it will become a jungle and it will be great fun to explore.
We look forward to sharing more as we get further into summer. Hope you are able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and the changing of the season!
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