It seems hard to believe that harvest is starting here in Northeastern Ontario, and I’m not talking about the local farmers cutting and baling their hay.
Yesterday I picked the first English cucumber from the vines you have been watching grow. And there is another one ready and waiting in the wings. It was crunchy and tasted perfect in a way that only happens when you grow something yourself. Perhaps it can be classified as a minor miracle, and truthfully I am always a bit in awe when those dry little seeds that went into the pots in March produce beautiful and healthy food.
And it’s not just the cucumbers. We’ve eaten the strawberries (and they are throwing shoots like crazy, so even more strawberries next year), and the green pea pods are puffing up like crazy. My husband had only ever eaten canned peas and was not a fan. Reluctantly he took a fresh pod, was intrigued by opening it (the lovely snap and crispness of a cleanly opened pea pod is unique and rewarding), and after the first tentative taste of a fresh pea, has become a convert. Fresh peas cooked with a little bit of mint are right up there with baby potatoes as a seasonal favourite.
The greens are all doing beautifully, and it truly is salad season – actually, we had better get to it as everything is being very prolific. Because the boxes these are planted in get good shade during the heat of the day, the lettuces last longer than if they were planted in the full sun.
All of the tomatoes have started to set fruit, and you can really tell the difference between the varieties. There are five different types of tomatoes in the garden this year: two types of plum tomato (one Amish, one Italian), a beefeater for sandwiches, a heritage for salads, and the cherry tomatoes on the deck for snacking. It’s a daily activity keeping everything watered but well worth it.
This year the squash seem to be doing really well. If you remember, I am trying the “old tire planter” approach. The vines are starting to run, and I am trying a suggestion form an expert pumpkin grower and burying the vines to help with extensive rooting. Fingers crossed that we get good carving pumpkins for Halloween, in addition to the pie pumpkins, the winter squash, and the watermelons.
On the flower front, the zinnia are in bloom, adding bursts of brightness to the pots, and the roses are perfuming the gardens. For perennials, the primroses are going strong, and the campion and Sweet William have emerged. The peonies, poppies, and iris are done, so now we are waiting for the day lilies for the next big burst of colour. This is when foliage becomes important in a garden to keep it interesting.
The cats are doing well; I never know which tree they are going to climb down out of. They are good mousers, and don’t seem to mind coming in at dusk to sleep safely in their room. They even come down to the greenhouse with me when I go to check that nothing is suffering from dryness. It gets up past 100F degrees in there on a sunny day, so watering is important.
Finally, an update on the lilac shoots – they all seem to have rooted and are thriving. We took out the old tree and roots, but left a side growth next tot he kayak rack – I like continuity in a garden so this creates a good compromise solution. I’ll keep it trimmed so it doesn’t get out-of-hand like the parent tree. It will be fun in August finding places for the off-shoots.
Well, I’m off to fertilize as it’s summer and growth is fast – a little epsom salt pick me up should make everyone even happier.