Our summer weather hasn’t been exactly typical, but our garden is taking it in stride! Our cherry tree blossomed late with our cold climate compared to the rest of the country’s, but its beautiful blossoms gave us an abundant crop of cherries.
This weekend my oldest son, my husband, and I harvested over three gallons of cherries. We left plenty of cherries on the tree to finish ripening, and we hope that the neighborhood birds and squirrels will gather what they need, too. We’ve had this tree only a few years, and the weather usually freezes just after it blossoms, killing our chances of fruit. Not this year!
There are fewer grapes this year, as some insects ate some of the immature grape clusters. The vines have been so exuberant that we’ve had to trim them back quite a bit, revealing some green grapes that the insects missed.
Our salsa garden is in full swing, with the tomatillos, peppers, and tomatoes in full blossom. We’ve already harvested one tomatillo and tomato, and we see many youngsters growing. Our season starts late and is relatively short, so I hope the fruit from the flowers we see now will have enough summer left to ripen. I added an eggplant this year, and it has blossomed prolifically, but I’m not sure I see any fruit yet. I’m keeping an eye on it.
We added a new raised bed this year, and I had a chance to add some vegetables I’ve never tried to grow before: green beans, cabbage, onions, spinach, and two squash varieties. The squash sprawl has been a real shocker, I have to say. I thought that squash plants were ground vines of moderate size. In some areas of the garden, our squash leaves are over a foot wide! Sometimes it looks a bit like Jurassic Park in that corner of the garden.
I finally had to trim a little so that the green beans could get enough sunlight, and I almost can’t find the tomato bushes that are becoming overwhelmed by the squash leaves. Clearly, I didn’t research that sufficiently. They do seem to grow well around the onion plants, though, with the onions developing underground with the wild and crazy squash plants growing over them. Ever flexible, the determined onions find just the right route for shoots up between the squash leaves.
Our apple and peach trees planted two years ago have a few beauties in the works. We bought the apple tree to cross-pollinate with our 20-year-old apple tree that had stopped producing. Sure enough, we have a few apples again on the older tree. Although a harsh late freeze killed its early blossoms, we have apples from flowers growing after the freeze. Our pollination plan appears to be working!
What surprises me is that the apples on the new tree are relatively small and have shown a slight blush almost from the beginning. They are growing larger, but they are a bit different than apples on our older tree. I’m worried that we bought a crab-apple tree that the vendor mislabeled. These are the first apples to make it this far on the new tree, so we’ll have to check it out when they are ripe and see how they taste. They may just be a small variety or something.
I have my husband to thank for the new raised bed garden; he worked very hard to have that ready by my birthday. He has also been in charge of water management, working on all the sprinkler systems to benefit the gardens and trees. So, this has been a great co-creation between us and nature.
All around us, we see the Earth’s abundance of beautiful organic produce. I grew up in a very arid location where the town piped water in from a neighboring state, and any growing thing had to be nurtured and watered; we had very little rainfall. I often tried to grow vegetables as a child with little to no success. The soil was very nutrient-poor, the sun was scathing, and the water insufficient.
So, when I see any growing plant or tree, I see it as a miracle. As I look around our house, I see many miracles in the works. My fingers are crossed that the hailstorms continue to go around us rather than over us!