End of the Month View 7.31.2020

End of the Month – July 2020

The wall of sunflowers has emerged. Squash is vining and claiming it’s ground. What seemed like too much space is really not enough when it comes to squash—every time. My surprise of the season is watermelon. I’ve never grown it before. I was gifted a seedling from Linda, my comrade in so many adventures. This year I have the honor of tending actual watermelon babies.

Green Love is strong, healthy and growing. What a joy to be legal, to care for the plants right in our fertile garden soil. So much more bountiful than five gallon buckets and secret patches hidden through the wild land. “The secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed.”

End of the Month – June 2020

End of the Month – May 2020

In a Vase on Monday 7.27.20

Sunflowers and larkspur abound!

The self seeding annual flowers are showing their colors! I recognize the seedlings when they emerge with the peas in the early spring now. The hardest thing about planting larkspur is to get it in as soon as the ground can be worked. I plant them in mid April after the snow melts for lovely blue blossoms in July.

Not in a vase, but an unexpected surprise. My amaryllis didn’t bloom this spring. I discarded it in my seedling box and forgot about it. The pot tipped over and somehow the bulb woke up. I was greeted by this beauty on my morning garden inspection.

#2020GardenBuddies. #inavaseonmonday

In a Vase on Monday 7.20.20

These are the days I dream of in the mid winter when pouring over seed catalogs and gazing out over the snow covered fields. Sweet summer sunshine daydreams…

This week in the vase are Tricolor salvia , the last poppy buds, Zeolight calendula, baby’s breath, echinacea, self seeded larkspur and sunflowers.

#2020GardenBuddies

#inavaseonmonday

7.15.20 Garden Tour

2020_07_Jacqui_marigold_leeks

Welcome to the July garden.  Sunlight, warmth and water are what the plants have been craving and they are thriving.  Jacqui-cat is looking for some petting as she gingerly steps between the marigolds and the King Richard leeks.

The cucurbits have pulled through the initial onslaught of striped cucumber beetles. After a number of years of not having enough cucumbers to make pickles, I’ve planted a number of patches through out the garden. Butternut winter squash is our old standby. The seeds are easy to save. It’s in moschata family and doesn’t cross with other squash varieties. The Sugar Baby watermelon is the surprise of the season. I’ve never grown  a watermelon. HB randomly mentioned that he would like to grow one because he likes the shape of the leaves and my dear friend Linda gave him this beautiful seedling. It even has a teeny tiny watermelon.

Tomatoes are my annual challenge. I have the hardest time getting them staked up.  I know they need to be pruned, but I’m not really sure how to do it properly.  The hornworms are expected any day!  Thank goodness, they have been so forgiving to me over the years.  My garden buddy and sister goddess Andi shared the most magnificent tomato seedlings with me this spring. I’m looking forward to having heirloom Green Zebra’s this fall.

2020_07_corn

Top Hat open pollinated corn is a seed crop this year.  I am concerned about seed availability next spring and want to have as many seeds as I can produce for next years food crops. If you are interested in how to “de-hybridize” an F1 crop, here is an interesting story of how Top Hat was selected from Tuxedo corn.

Alliums are a constant weeding challenge! The grasses are disguised to look just like garlic or onions and require vigilance, sharp eyes and lots of mulching to prevent them from overtaking my treasured bulbs of flavor.  The garlic tips are beginning to turn brown. When half to two thirds of the leaves are brown, it’s time to harvest. Usually the last week of July for me. The braiding garlic is ready first followed by the Music Pink hardneck.

2020_07_greens

Greens, beans and ganja.  We eat a lot of greens. I try plant rolling patches to keep us in ready supply, moving from spinach to chard to bok choy and back to spinach again in the fall. This year I am planting an overwintering greens garden. I have often had unintentional early spring goodness from the newly emerging garden and believe it will work well to plant on the other side of the calendar.

Diablo Brussels sprouts and  Covina organic broccoli are thriving. I plant brassica as a fall crop. Brocolli loves the cooler weather and keeps growing and producing through September and October.  I ordered the broccoli before the pandemic was known. It strikes me somewhat ironic to be tending a Covina broccoli….

Flowers everywhere. Tucked away in sweet little corners, massed in beds, pampered and treasured, they delight me during my morning garden inspection. You can see Lizzy’s orange frilly zinnia, the echinacha is ready to burst into bloom, the poppies are forming tseed heads while the last lingering purple petals feed the bees in the morning. The little Canadian Shield rose is my prize this year. I thought the rose bush was dead, but one little spring came to life followed by a sweet red rose bud.  The Campfire rose is also a first year transplant. There have been many flowers on this vigorous bush. Tricolor salvia is an old reliable for my flower vases. It is an annual that self seeds throughout the garden, but I always plant a few extra so I can place them in strategic locations. Feed my soul.

2020_07_prelude_raspberries

The garden tour ends in the Prelude raspberry row. We have been rewarded with a bumper crop to graze on. They haven’t made it to the jam pot or freezer yet!  I need to find a place outside of the vegetable garden so they have enough room to spread into a true raspberry patch. I would love to see your mid July garden photos!  What delights you in your garden?

#2020gardenbuddies

#gardentour

In a Vase on Monday 7.13.20

7855C079-1667-4D01-AEE0-F9C2F8C52B9CSelf seeded sunflowers were planted the year my daughter married. She asked me to grow sunflowers for her. It was a magnificent season, the garden burst with lemon, yellow and maroon sunflowers from July through September. I let them grow and leave them for the birds now. Every summer I am delighted again and send photos to my daughter. A legacy of love.

Shasta Daisy was planted three years ago and is happy in the corner spot of the garden. I like the way the white and yellow petals balance  each other .

Tricolor Salvia is a favorite of mine in bouquets. It is subtle but adds color and shape to the mix.

Mint fills the room with its aroma and gives the house a pleasant undertone.

Purple Clover, Meadow  Daisy, and Black Eyed Susan all perennial flowers returning every summer to dance in the field with the wind.

#inavaseonmonday

#2020GardenBuddies

COVID Garden Year

D542B43A-991B-4135-BFBC-04B6E60D68CAReturning to the virtual world to share my dearest activities—growing the garden, tending living growing plants, creating wholesome nourishing food from garden bounty.

To me, my gardens are more than cultivated, plowed strips and sections of soil. Gardens are also places I share with the wildness, sacred sites of trees, herbs, grasses and flowers tucked away here and there around the land.

COVID times have brought physical isolation. I’ve turned again to electronic, internet based communication because I am lonely and miss my people—garden walks, tea parties, swapping seeds and cuttings.

FaceBook is problematic for me.  It is easy. But I am uncomfortable about a platform that spreads white supremacy recruitment propaganda, the commodification of my personal information and the need to fiercely guard my data. I’ve signed off for the month of July 2020 in support of Stop Hate for Profit.

I want to share flower love, germination hope and transforming the land with joy.

”Will you come with me? Won’t you come with me? Oh, I want to know….”

Saving Seeds: Zinnia

Harry introduced me to the exuberant Zinnia. Their bold, enduring colorful flowers bloom all summer until the frost comes. I try to extend the season by covering them with row cover or plastic and sometimes get an extra week or two of color. Hummingbirds and butterflies come to Zinnia blossoms and I feel the love flowing from my heart to fly with them.

Jenna passed these seeds on to me last fall after she watched my Zinnia’s growing last summer. Her job on The Hill is to manage security. She strides across the fields with strength and confidence. Like the Zinnia, Jenna is tough and beautiful. We shared a number of pleasant flower conversations.

The seeds are sorted by blossom color. Seeds with no petals are groups together as mixed colors. One of the sections is for immature, unformed seeds. I’m planning a bold red Zinnia section in the flower garden.

Zinnia are said to represent thoughts of forgotten friends. It makes it somewhat fitting to offer the rest of the seeds at the Friends of The Hill Plant Sale andSwap on May 19th.

Zinnia are happiest when planted by seed directly into the warm soil. They are fussy transplants, but will make it into the garden with some attention and coddling. These little babies are from two plantings. The seeds were saved from my Zinnia and I don’t know if the parents are open pollinated or hybrid. Time will tell.

I choose beauty and color to bring solace in this hard, sometimes hurtful world. Turning toward joy, the seeds call to be planted, to germinate, to burst forth reaching for the light.

Life Springs Forth

I left off blogging last summer when I got the call that my dad was dying. Now the long Maine winter is over, spring has officially arrived and the garden calls me back. St. Francis is peeking out from under the snow and the solar lights that stayed out all winter get enough light to shine at night again.

I’m growing tomato seedlings to sell this spring. Grandma Mary’s paste tomato is a reliable and meaty favorite. It cooks down to a rich sauce and make an outstanding dried tomato. Cosmonaut Volkov tomato is hands down my favorite red eating tomato. It ripens in mid to late August and keeps pumping out juicy good sized fruit until frost.

Alyssum seedling are happy and thriving. They are a lovely frothy white flower I use to accent in potted flower containers. In the garden they make a sweet border.

In the cellar window, the onions and seed lettuce are doing well. The onions are second year seed and germinated much better than I had expected. I’m growing open pollinated Ailsa Craig and Borretana Cipolini and a hybrid variety called Talon. We are still eating our fresh stored Talon onions.

I’m growing out a lettuce seed crop this year. This red leaf lettuce is from my saved seed. The 25 most vigorous seedling will be selected and grown for seed. I worked on Will Bonsall’s seed farm in Industry for a couple of seasons and learned how to grow out plants specifically for seed saving. The lettuce plants are started early to give them enough time to fully mature and develop fully ripened seeds.

Here is the view of the snow covered garden in September before the frost. Soothe my soul with color and abundance.

With gratitude, with love and joy.

End of the Month View: July

Since it’s not yet time for the End of the  Month View for August, I figured I’m still somewhat timely for the July View.

July is a time of deep heat and fullness. The corn towers over our heads and the tassels are showing!  There are two gigantic sunflowers reaching towards the sky. It must be the fertility of the chicken coop that stood there for so many years. 

The blue barrel holds the comfrey nettle kelp compost tea. The plants drink it up and keep on growing! The nettles are getting their second growth.  Nettle is a super compost ingredient. Each cutting gets layered into the compost heap. 

Hollyhocks abound! I counted five different colors.  Honey bees and hummingbirds visit frequently.  It gives me great joy to hear and see the bees buzzing around the blossoms.  

Zinnias are Harry’s favorite garden flower. Their vibrant colors and perky petals are a mainstay in the bouquets he brings to me.  It’s hard to be “uncheerful”  looking at zinnias..

My flower garden is in the second growth now. Daffodils and Sweet William have gone and the Painted Daisy, Crazy Daisy and Shasta Daisy are putting out their bloom stalks.  Snapdragon, cosmos, marigold and more zinnia transplants form a sweet curve in the garden entrance.

Echinacea is setting its first blossoms. I love their hardy strength and seed head. Most of all, we depend on the roots to make medicine tea for winter colds. 

It’s time to thin and trim the calendula next to the strawberries.  It will bloom again through the autumn if we get the midsummer deadheading done.  The whole row was a self seeding gift.  The calendula petals can be infused in oil and used to heal wounds and skin.  Your fingers may get sticky with calendula flower juice as you pluck them!

Fresh garden food right now includes broccoli, Costata Romenesca zucchini, Ailsa Craig onions, cucumbers, beets, chard, carrots and green beans. Often our supper is a giant pot of vegetables fresh from the garden.  The taste of vegetables unadorned in full fresh flavor is a seasonal headiness that passes so quickly. 

Preserving season is ramping up as well.  I’ve made cherry jelly from my garden buddy Andy’s cherries and a combination jam with raspberries from our daughters garden and blueberries Harry and I picked in the western Maine mountains. My hope is to have canned beans, tomatoes and carrots going into the winter. 

This week is garlic pulling week. The garlic looks beautiful!  We grow Music Pink and a braiding variety.  We used our last garlic off the braid about two weeks ago.

I’ve been away from our garden since early August. My dad lives far away on the Oregon coast. I got a call and learned that his heart has failed and may stop at any time now.  So I left the garden and flew out to sit with my dad, hold his hand and sing him songs one last time before he makes his final flight to freefall into the pure light.