Summer is here, and...
with my canning and preserving list ready, I am waiting now on Mother Nature. I will hopefully be getting my cucumbers at the end of the week. The farm I get them from didn't have enough small pickling cucumbers yesterday, but they said they will be ready by Friday or Saturday. Green beans are still a little too expensive at the market since they are just now coming off, so in the meantime, I plan on making a brandied blackberry jam with these babies (more on that to come).
At this point, I am trying to keep my own garden growing nicely. My goal with my garden, which consists of four 4 x 8 raised beds, is not really to have enough to preserve. Rather, I try to grow enough to give us fresh veggies through the summer so that when I do spend money on produce it is to put it up for winter. Yesterday, I harvested my first round of potatoes. There were 18 plants which yielded about 20 pounds of potatoes, some Yukon Gold and the rest Red Pontiac. I am considering putting in another planting of potatoes for a fall harvest. I have never done that before, so we will see how it goes.
My squash have been blooming profusely, but as of right now they only have a few squash forming. They remind me of those types of people who are all talk and no action. Their leaves look lovely and they are very large, but nothing much is being produced yet.
The cucumbers are also doing well, with many small cucumbers growing and tons of blooms. The pepper plants are being attacked by something though, so I don't know how well they will fare. My cucumbers are doing a nice job of climbing their little trellis this year without much coaxing on my part.
The tomatoes are beginning to produce, but I am never very good with tomatoes so I have no high hopes (and they say they're some of the easiest plants to grow...ha).
My green beans are looking good. I had very good luck growing bush varieties last year and was even able to get several plantings out of them before fall. I am hoping for that kind of success this year. As of right now, they are blooming like crazy and looking beautiful.
The basil was a little slow to germinate, but once it did, it took off. I am hoping to have enough to use in my pasta sauce this year and maybe make a little pesto. It is growing at the front of the green bean bed, but I am getting ready to plant more where the potatoes were.
And, lastly, one of my beds holds a lone squash plant that wouldn't fit anywhere else along with my sweet potato plants (bush variety also). I have never grown my own sweet potatoes, so I am hoping these do well.
As for the chickens, they are growing like weeds (the picture below was taken a few weeks ago) and should not be too far from laying. I am anxious for the first egg. They are enjoying the chicken tractor that my husband and father-in-law built. They can't wait to get out everyday to enjoy the grass and bugs. They are also very fond of watermelon on these hot summer days, and when we walk out there each day, they think they should have a treat of fruit or vegetable scraps. Crazy chickens!
So, until canning/freezing get into full swing, I will be here working in the yard and enjoying the summer.