Beau May 31st, 2010
Looks like our heat and humidity are here to stay. Our normally cool May ended up as a preview of the dog days of summer. I even picked green beans today! Go figure… but the heat has some advantages. Most of the vegetables seem to really be taking off now, with the presumed advantage of not having as many insects around yet to bother them while they were just starting out. Kind of like a head start before the critters appear in earnest. We’ve already got squash and cucumber blooming now, with nary a beetle in sight.
Of course the sugar snap peas may have a much shorter season if the heat remains. But this week they’ve really come into their own and are producing about a pint of sweet pea pods each day. They practically grow overnight, and are so delicious that you can eat them right off the vine. And what is it about picking them… no matter how many times you go up and down the rows, you always find another big one or two that you missed seeing before!
Ah, fresh, crispy organic lettuce! The heat shortens the season for lettuce too, but we’re enjoying some nice romaine now. I hope it grows for a few weeks more- I really like the tall, stiff and crunchy leaves for salads and sandwiches. I’ll bet I could make a nice container area in the shade and plant some throughout the season?
Last year the cherries on our Northstar var. didn’t ripen until the end of June, but they were ready this week! The birds began to feast on them, so we picked the few remaining. I look forward to the day when we have enough for a pie or two…
The summer squash have even begun blooming already too. I don’t expect them to set and produce quite yet, and these are actually male blossoms. I haven’t tried them, but they say you can collect these and fry them up for a tasty treat. Of course if you did that too much you might not get any squash! I’ll keep looking for the female blossoms that should come soon.
It’s fun seeing the garden come along. This year I’ve taken to layering straw throughout the garden, and up against the rows. It really helps keep down the weeds, and to retain the moisture in the upper soil. Maybe that’s basic gardening, but I didn’t expect to use so much. I’m also pleasantly surprised that I like having it around all over the walking areas. Is there a downside to using straw? I don’t know, but it’s less expensive than most other options, and anything that helps with weed control is a plus, especially since I’m trying the organic approach without using chemicals in the garden. We don’t have a hay barn or a good place to store the bales however, so if the straw gets wet before using it starts sprouting grass and such. A project for another day…
Oh, and see my gardening pal? The boy has been a tremendous help lately. Do you know he’s even beat me outside early in the morning on several days? ;) He likes to be the first one out there to pick the peas and help with weeding. It’s a little game we play. And he has help too!
The chickens follow us around, and like to see what we’re pulling up when weeding. Of course I have learned that kids love picking vegetables, but weeds? Not so much. A little cajoling helps, and this patch is all cleaned up and covered with straw again now. I’m trying to set an example with the caretaking, and to help him learn how our actions and diligence can lead to good things… it’s hard to compete with so many other things that are a lot more fun than weeding though, and I still want to keep it fun. So far the chickens have been happy scratching around digging for worms and eating little weeds themselves. I imagine when they’re bigger they would decimate the garden!