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.
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.
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.