For those of you with offspring, do they still have kids write the obligatory essay on summertime activities in school? I thought I’d give you a little reminder of summer if, like me, fall has closed you in with clouds and rain.
Instead of being in front of a computer, this is where I spent most of my free time during June, July and August. And a good chunk of September.
Strawberries, corn, carrots, raspberries, grapes, potatoes and onions.
Also garlic, peas, beans and basil.
Boy did it keep me busy, but I loved every second of it. I learn something new with every season, and I think that is the best part about gardening. Exercise for the body and the mind. Although if you look close, at the end of the row you’ll see I’m not above sitting to do my weeding. That is one of the beauties of raised-bed gardening, it’s that much less distance you have to reach down to weed. The other bonus is, you can plant more closely, so fewer weeds sprout.
I learned that if you plant beans (and peas) too close, you will end up with a towering mound of vines.
In my head, I nicknamed it ‘The Monster Pile’ because it really was a monstrous pile o’ beans and peas. The peas only produced so-so, and I ended up with these little worms inside the peas on half the harvest, so the humans didn’t get much. The chickens, on the other hand, were delighted with the infested peas, and ate them up happily worms and all. The beans produced like crazy, with no issues. I ended up freezing some for Hub and I and donating the rest to the local food bank.
Next year though, it’s all about the placement. Hub has kindly volunteered to put some work in on making another planting bed in another part of the yard just for the beans and peas. Love him! This will let me space the plants better, and improve harvest. Many of the beans ended up choked, or tangled up in the vines because they just swamped each other and couldn’t be harvested or weren’t useful. Again my chickens benefited. When we pulled the bean plants at the end of the season we just tossed them to the flock.
The girls also got the cobs from the corn, after I’d blanched and frozen the kernels. I was greedy, I kept all 4 gallons of corn and it’s sitting happily in my freezer just waiting to be steamed, or made in to chicken corn chowder. Yum!
I did put some pretty in my garden too. From the showy:
To the simple:
But seasons turn as they always must, and my once overflowing garden is now (mostly) bare and dying away. The asparagus has been put to bed for the fall, the carrots and grapes have been plucked, the strawberry plants are starting to lose their leaves, and the potato bags have been moved into cold storage in the garage.
Now, I’ve begun my next garden experiment. Fall/winter garden.
Carrots, onions and beets. I dropped the seeds in the rows and figured if they sprout, I’ll see if I can make them overwinter for early spring harvest. Well, they sprouted, and are still looking remarkably happy. I am equally happy because I no longer have to water the no-so-little guys anymore, Mother Nature is taking care of that chore for me. I have to do more research on just how to get them through the winter and growing again, but I suspect I’ll mulch them in a few more weeks, and then hope for spring goodness.
And that is how I spent my summer. In addition to what I’ve put up, I donated a little over 20 pounds of fresh produce to the local food bank, fulfilling a promise I made to myself at the start of the season.
Here in Seattle, I’ve heard lots of moaning and groaning about fall and winter coming, and how much they miss the sun. I’m often asked if I miss Southern California and all the sunshine. My answer is no, not one bit. I love how the seasons turn up here, and the grey and rainy days are the perfect excuse to sit and write. During the summer, my creativity just wasn’t flowing, so I put all my energy into the garden. Now, the ideas I let lie fallow during the summer are springing forth renewed. Everything has a right time, a right season; something we humans are prone to forget in our hyper-technological world. The trick is connecting to that seasonal, earthy energy that is part of our very being, but once you do, wonderful things happen.
How do you connect? How do you renew yourself? What pastimes fulfill you and recharge your mental, emotional and spiritual batteries? I would love to hear your stories!
Also….the pictures in this post are all under copyright to me. Please ask before you use. Thank you!