Midsummer in the Garden
The middle of July. Already.
I remember as a child July seemed to stretch on and on, but now it seems no longer than an exhaled breath or the vaporish after-image of a firework hanging in the sky. I’m unenthusiastic about marking the days off on the calendar – I think I might like a do-over; I’d like for it to maybe be the middle of May again, instead – but the days come and go with no thought to me or my wishes.
That said, the weather has been like a dream. Avery and Iris asked why it wasn’t cold and rainy, and I told them it was because it’s summer. This is the way it’s supposed to be! They looked at me incredulously.
So. How is the garden doing?
Technically, I’m only actually growing a handful of things this year. Hard-necked garlic, elephant garlic and Ruby Red onions. Tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers and eggplants. So far they are all doing well.
I’ve been busy spreading well-rotted manure and fish emulsion along the onion row. Onions are voracious eaters, and all the extra amendments will help them bulb up nice and big. I’ve also been trying to water them regularly, although how often we get out to the farm can be kind of sporadic. In general, I think I’m watering about every two days or so.
In contrast, I’ve stopped watering the garlic. I’m hoping to harvest them at the end of the month, and I want them to start drying out in the ground. If I kept watering them, they could rot. They’re tricky like that. I’m doing the same with the elephant garlic, although I’ll miss having their flowers gracing the garden.
In the greenhouse the tomatoes are huge, more than six feet tall, and they would keep going but I preemptively cut them off once they reached the top of their guide line. I’ve let tomato vines top 10 feet before and it turned out to be a mistake. I couldn’t reach the top and they got monstrous with suckers and heavy fruit, and before I knew it the whole vine ended up breaking in half. Live and learn.
We’ve been snacking on the Sungold tomatoes constantly. I feel a little guilty about not saving them to bring home for a salad or some other culinary purpose, but they are just too good not to eat immediately! I also got to try the first Indigo Cherry Drop and it was delicious! This variety seems perfect for a caprese salad.
The bigger-fruited heirloom tomatoes are still ripening. I’m practicing patience and thinking of all the tomato and spaghetti sauce I’ll be making next month.
Out in the fields, the apples and plums and nuts are ripening on the trees in surprising numbers. We thought they might not fruit this year because of the heat from the fire, but we were wrong. Instead, it looks like we might have a bumper crop.
The marionberries are turning a nice plum purple and I’ve started picking them (with exuberance!), although I’m eating far more than I’m bringing home to preserve. I need to clear out the grass growing around the bottom of the fence where they’re growing and plant more canes. These things are delectable and I want more!
Standing in the garden, surrounded by the things that are growing, it occurs to me how lucky I am, how blessed to be there amid the growing and the greening. The winter was hard, the spring harder still, but the summer is a dream.