Come on in!
I think Seattle is gearing up to have a real, true summer. With tomatoes that ripen, sun-kissed noses, and calloused gardener hands that never get clean.
The skies are promising and blue.
Think thinning out lettuce or carrot starts is difficult? Thinning out fruit trees, like the apple below, is nearly heart-wrenching.
Tayberry (below) is planted hedge-ish style next to marionberry and boysenberry canes– all blackberry derivatives. If you are planting any of that type of berry, I suggest planting them somewhere you don’t plan on sitting close to. In hindsight, right next to a small patio was perhaps *not* the best spot. They tend to get very thorny, tall, and wild in full summer. That being said…I kind of like where they are and how wild it gets. The berries- they let their freak flags fly.
I am totally tickled about the black currants that are growing! It will be our first year with any appreciable production and I can’t wait!
We planted 3 more blueberry bushes this year. In a few years they should bear fruit as heavy as the Duke blueberry bush below. Can you believe the blossoms? I adore blueberries!
But strawberries…I also adore strawberries. I’m forever spoiled…even organic store-bought strawberries in season taste blah-bah-bleck when you are used to eating fresh-picked-still-sun-warm strawberries. The only edible I can think of that sports this intense degree off fruit-to-store difference is tomatoes. Some items spoil an edible gardener forever: tomatoes and strawberries. If you are just starting out, consider yourself warned!
Gardeners often talk about an abundance of radishes and needing to preserve them. No matter how many I plant, I can’t keep up. The Babylady is a prolific radish eater. She has a system: wipe on pants or dunk in watering can, snap off the root tail, bite the radish, and toss the greens to the chickens. It works. Except she doesn’t always wait for them to get fully ready for picking. And I have to sneak them out to procure enough for my beloved radish & butter sandwiches. Or radish & peanut butter. (Don’t knock it until you try it. It is really good.) I plant radishes every other day, and still- not enough radishes. Next year? A dedicated radish bed and her own stockpile of radish seeds.
The radishes above and the beets below are in one side of the raised beds. Other current residents are and assortment of carrots, spinach, chard, peas, nasturtiums, some lettuce, and cauliflower.
The other side of the raised bed is garlic and a few other alliums (a couple random leeks and shallots). For some reason the stalks look enormous this year compared to last. I don’t know if they like the soil in the raised beds better than their home last year, but they are noticeably ginormous. So much so that I pulled one last night (even though it has an obvious garlic scape) because I was convinced it was a giant leek. Nope, green garlic. Which I made into a chimichurri sauce with parsley and mint from the garden. For tonight’s lamb, not from the garden.
The espaliered pear trees are going to produce this year! We have several small Bartlett pears. It is a combination Bartlett/D’Anjou pear.
Oh, chives! You look so pretty, taste so yummy, and repel so many icky things. Things like aphids, cabbage worms, and slugs all despise you, and for this I love you even more. I recently heard that a tea made with chives can protect against powdery mildew. I haven’t tried it yet, but if there is something gardeners in the pacific northwest battle it is slugs and powdery mildew on our cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, and the like), so I can’t wait to try it! Stay tuned! Anyhow, we have chives planted all over. The Babylady walks around with chives hanging out of her mouth most of the time in the garden. Yes, she is a 4-year-old with chive and radish breath (and arugula, lovage, and fennel). She forces necklaces of chives strung with mint and chard leaves on visitors. If you come over, just take it and toss it discretely to the chickens and tell her it was delicious.
I don’t post pictures of this view often. Mainly, the sun is always in this position when I think to take a picture, but it has also been more work-in-progress. There are small (but growing) grape plants on either side of the arbor, apple, espaliered pear, and apricot tree on the left. The grass is “eco-lawn” and micro-clover mix that doesn’t need watering and only gets mowed twice a year. It is perfect if you don’t require a perfect patch of grass but want something a bit more wild (as well as softer and environmentally friendly).
I look at this picture and I’m shocked. It has come so far (see here for a look at 5 years ago). The aspens whispering in the breeze always calm me and fill me with a sense of wonder. In a few months, probably by July, we won’t be able to see the cute turquoise chairs and bistro table. They’ll be tunneled in by berries on one side, daisies on the other, and aspen leaves above. It will be cozy and shaded from afternoon heat. The ladder will be covered with beans.
Summer. Bring it!