Just enjoying the garden

It’s that time of year. The planting and much of the fertilizing, weeding, and planning is done. Harvest has started in the veggie gardens (my cucumbers are behaving like zucchini this year — lots of them), and the day lilies and roses are blooming. The asiatic lilies are also coming along and will soon be in on the action.

July is a reward month for home gardeners, whether you focus on herbs, edibles, or visual temptations. We get to spend our garden forays harvesting or simply enjoying the displays, with occasional deadheading.

Deadheading is the process of removing flowers that have finished, and for many plants this will keep them flowering longer. It works well with most annuals, and is important if you want to keep hanging baskets and planters looking spiffy. There may be short periods of greenery only, but it is worth it when the second round of bloom shows up. Don’t forget a light fertilizer as well (light meaning not to strong a mix).

A tip or two for extending your lettuce is to plant it in the shade, and to leave the base of the stalk and a leaf or two in the ground when you harvest. It will grow back if you haven’t let it flower/go to seed. The same seems to apply to spinach. I have been able to extend the harvest period for all of my leafy greens this year because of their shady location.

The cherry tomatoes on the deck

The tomatoes are loving this hot weather and are growing gangbusters. I have been plucking ripe cherry tomatoes off the vines on the deck as I head out on walkabouts. The plum and beaf steak tomatoes are fecund (it seems like a fitting description given the number and size of fruit this year).

Everyone who shares a meal with us is benefitting from the herb garden — basil in the quiche, tarragon with the chicken, oregano in the pizza sauce… so many choices. It is a real journey of discovery building the herb bed, with the added benefit of wonderful smells in the air when the cats wander through it (it is close to our deck where we sit under the cherry tree, enjoying the shade.)

The garden cats are thriving, doing a good job as mousers, and leaving the toads and such alone. It’s quite funny watching them chase grasshoppers across the lawn, springing into the air as if launched. For the most part, the grasshoppers escape, although there is an occasional crunch. The birds and chippies have figured out the cats and stay clear, and the squirrels just laugh and call them names from their high up tree perches.

Here are some other July pics from mid-summer.


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