Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Walk Through the Garden, July 15th

Alas, July, you are slowly claiming bits of my garden for yourself, and I fear I won't reclaim those plots until the fall! There are already two beds empty, mulched, and waiting for cooler weather... and several more are on their way... quite a difference from our last walk through this space, no?

I have already lost the pumpkin patch and all our summer squash to bugs (squash bugs, harlequin beetles, and termites). Our green beans have been very disappointing and are also on their way out, and our onions are finishing up, though I fear they'll all be pretty small.

Our herbs are hanging in there, and we have a big, robust, and highly toxic poke weed plant thriving along side them all that will be ready for harvest soon... I plan on making poke weed ink from the dark purple berries for my mom to play around with in her studio... then ripping it out, composting it, and not allowing another to grow among our food again.

All our sunflowers are gone now, most infested by aphids and their care-taking ants. I lopped the blooms off and wired them to the chicken coop door so the girls could pick them apart, leaving the sturdy stems rooted in the ground to continue their role as trellis to our late cucumbers (if they can make it through August!).

About half our tomato plants are hanging in there, as are the established bunches of swiss chard and the marigolds. BUT- it's not all grim! Our cantaloupe has really taken off, and we have no less than 6 little melons growing on its vines! (saying that now, there will probably be another insect infestation by the end of the week to take care of it, but celebrate the little moments, right?)

It's easy to get a little bummed standing among the wilting, crispy plants that have been so nurtured and loved... and I was admittedly a little down standing out there watering as the sun came up... but then I glanced over at the chicken coop, wondering why the girls sounded especially agitated... and there on the floor of their run was their first pullet egg! I was able to get in there and get it before the thick brown shell was cracked by the layer's curious sisters, bloom intact and still warm.

Now that'll just turn a girl's morning right around, I must say. *swoon*

It is easy to lament the inevitable fallout of the summer garden in Texas, but I just have to keep reminding myself of what it's given us already- bountiful zucchini and crookneck yellow squash, countless cherry tomatoes and enough big slicin' tomatoes to make four pints of homemade salsa, pounds upon pounds of ruby red beets, enough lambs quarters to feed the chickens fresh greens for two months, salad greens and chard- still growing- enough to share, radishes, basil, dill, rosemary, thyme, and green onions aplenty, and it's not dead yet! So chin up. It'll cool off.


And now there are eggs to look forward to!

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