Though we don’t get enough strawberries in our garden to preserve any, we get enough to enjoy a treat when we go out there. (We got our strawberry bed in the back covered in bird netting a few weeks ago, the rest of our strawberries are scattered all over the place. Now if we could just keep the slugs and bugs from eating them!)
We got another honeyberry planted. (One of our favorite companies, One Green World, was at the Mother Earth News Fair!) Jeff had to use his ax to remove a giant root before we could put it in the ground. In our excitement, we put up a trellis for it, then realized honeyberries don’t need a trellis. They will have some extra support this way I guess and we’d like to train them along it.
Our elderberry plant bloomed last week and I got a picture just in time because now the blossoms are gone. I think the tiny white flowers are so pretty. (Our other elderberry is not that happy and you need two to cross pollinate, so we’d like to plant a few more.)
It’s that time of year- the pool is now out in the yard and in regular use again. Bracken took a colander from his play kitchen, flipped it over, and used the holes to place flowers he picked in the garden. I called it his flower mandala. (Grandpa Bob wanted to see it, so this picture is for you Grandpa Bob!)
Mulch, mulch, mulch. Our garden was struggling with the heat, plants drooping even with lots of watering. Jeff has been spreading straw as mulch in the garden beds and it’s amazing what a difference it has made. Tiny lettuce looks happy in the hottest part of the day now. (We can only use the straw when the weather is really hot. Too early in the season it would cause mold and mildew issues, plus be a hiding spot for slugs. But with the heat as of late, it’s working great out there right now. Plus it makes the garden beds look so nice.)
Our friends visited last week and we headed to the woods to pick some red huckleberries. Bracken was filling his basket with them when he spotted some salmonberries. A wonderful surprise.
We brought in our spring mason bee tubes. We’ll store them in Jeff’s outdoor shop, with protective netting around them (to keep out insects like parasitic wasps etc.), until the fall when we gather the cocoons from inside and keep them in the fridge over winter until we hatch them out next spring. We saw one had been drilled into by an insect, so we threw that one out. The spring mason bees pollinated our fruit and soon it will be time for us to get our summer leafcutter bees to pollinate our vegetables.
There’s been much celebration when a butterfly is caught in the garden (and frustration when they fly out of reach and can’t be caught.) We’re constantly identifying insects in the garden and I just looked this one up. It’s called a cinnabar moth.
I’m always happy to see the oxeye daisies, but I’m especially happy about my Oregon Sunshine Flowers right now. So bright and vibrant that yellow color is. Since I first learned about them from the Wildflower Festival and we brought them home from there, they remind me of that day.
Other garden notes:
Watering the garden is a huge job right now and Jeff has usually been watering early in the mornings. This year we needed to start watering earlier in the season than we ever have before. Drip irrigation is sounding wonderful right now. Besides the fact that it would save so much time, I like how efficient it is with water use. We’d be interested in using drip irrigation for our permanent plants in the garden (like the blueberries, fruit trees, etc.) and continuing to water the vegetables by hand. I’ve never looked at it before because I just assumed it would be cost prohibitive, but now I’d like to start pricing it. I knew we’d reach a point in the garden eventually (since we continue to plant more every year), where it would start becoming a challenge to water everything by hand.
Jeff’s weed eater broke and we got it repaired at a local shop. We can’t be without it this time of year because the weeds need to be kept down or else they will become a fire hazard. We’re right in the middle of the woods. And it’s a dry year. So the weed eater is pretty important around here. (We’d like to save up for more fencing and have the chickens help with that in more areas.)
From these pictures and all the happenings out there, you’d think we spent all our time in the garden. These pictures are from the last few weeks, but I actually haven’t been out there all that much lately. Things get even busier than usual when we are getting ready for a show. With the Black Sheep Gathering coming up, some things get put on the back burner until afterwards. I told Jeff I’ll have to be okay with the house being a mess for the time being and he said he’ll have to be okay with the garden being somewhat neglected for the time being. I always do my best to keep the kitchen cleaned up and tidy because it really needs to be to get our meals cooked each day, but the rest of the house is covered in display pieces, buttons waiting to be tied on cards, and the like. After the show, we have a lot of vegetable starts that need to go in the ground!
One night last week I was washing dishes and getting the kitchen cleaned up while Jeff and Bracken were working in the garden. Jeff has been working nonstop all day long and by the time the evening rolls around, he needs a break and a bit of a breather in the garden. My first thought was that I would turn on some music. I love listening to Pandora radio while I clean up. But then the windows were open and I could sometimes hear Jeff and Bracken out in the garden together. I savored the quiet of the evening, the birds singing, and the sounds of them interacting out there. It was one of those peaceful times, in the midst of so much activity that is our life lately, that you just want to savor.