Wow, it’s mid-June already! The spring has flown by, as it always does once I get busy with the garden beginning in early March. Things in the garden are growing like crazy, and we can hardly keep up with it! Some of the corn has tassels (the organic Blue Jade, which is a shorty variety topping out at 3-4 feet) and the rest is way taller than I am (the Oaxacan green dent variety we plan to make wicked good masa to make tamales with). The pole beans and cucumbers are happily coiling themselves up the corn stalks and groping around like a bunch of teenagers for even higher tendril-holds.
The sugar snap peas are delicious, there are plenty of little (and some not-so-little) tomatoes growing all over the place. Several rows of bush beans are putting out their short-lived, but plentiful crop of crunchy sweetness, too.
The first-year asparagus plants are a froth of delicate fern leaves (since I’ve successfully resisted eating them), the dill is three feet high and has flower buds, and the artichokes are looking happier than I’ve ever seen them. It seems that the squash in their new hills toward the back of the garden are thriving and conspiring to take over the world, too.
And did I mention berries? The blueberries are finally starting to ripen up, there are a couple of strawberries forming, and the raspberry bushes that we transplanted with the help of some friends two years ago are putting out a nice amount of fruit this year. Figs, one of my personal favorites, are on the way, too.
Garden problems? Well, powdery mildew, the bane of gardeners in the South, has overtaken the remainder of plants in the cold frame bed—particularly the turnips and the collards. It’s also bothering the sweet pea vines, which are still flowering despite the imposition of the mildew:
But the lacinato kale is being a real champ, and despite the constant 90-degree heat, it hasn’t gone to flower. (You may note that earlier I posted a photo of the two-inch-tall kale seedlings weathering a snowy transplant just as tolerantly as they do the heat now. These plants are wickedly versatile and robust—I’m in total love this veggie!)
We’ve also had to take out 4 tomatoes so far (out of 35+ total) because they’ve gone wilty and sick-looking. We learned our lesson the hard way last year, when we lost all—ALL of our tomato plants to what appeared to be southern blight. It was heartbreaking, and we don’t want to have a repeat, so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sick-looking plants. When we pulled the more recent pair out, they did have a damaged stem around the base of the plant, which is a tell-tale sign of several plant diseases rather than any sort of nutritional insufficiency in the soil—so we sure are glad we pulled them.
In the animal world, we’ve got a healthy balance of garden pests and predators. The most recent addition to the garden has been a mockingbird nest in the arbor that the trumpet vine’s growing on. The parents are bringing an incredible assortment of bugs, worms, grubs and caterpillars to those babies every 3-4 minutes from sunrise to sundown. Each day their chirps become louder and more insistent, and passing under the nest a few days ago, I caught a glimpse of a downy little chick’s head. They’re so sweet, and they’re eating up a lot of things that would otherwise be eating the plants and vegetables! Win-win.
There’s also a little rabbit who shows up in the early evening each day now, and I can only hope and hope (or—ahem—delude myself into thinking) that he’s just nibbling on the leftover cover crop of clover we’ve been too busy to take out in a few places around the garden.
All in all, things are g(r)owing just splendidly here for a June in Georgia. Seeing the little seeds I tucked into the soil months ago grow, flourish, and begin to flower reminds me how grateful I am for the garden, and for the quiet magic of life itself. It’s a new miracle, a new challenge, and a new surprise every day.
How are things growing in your little patch of green this time of year?