Everything is happening in June. It is tough to miss the change in any part of the garden landscape. The low soil temperatures of the day are in the 60’s F (High teens C), warm enough for tomatoes, peppers and even the tulsi is up, finally. The cobalt blue skies continue to grace sunny, dry days. How frequently do you go out to look at those newly planted seeds to see if anything has come up?
Everyone is busy. It is always fun to watch the birds catching those insects that would otherwise be a threat to unhealthy plant in the garden. It is interesting to imagine just how many caterpillars or moths any one bird may consume. This robin is doing a fine job.
Feeding and keeping things clean in the nest.
We have nearly finished planting for the spring and just in time. Beets, carrots, collards, kale, greens, sugar cane, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts in the vegetable gardens. Those volunteer herbs and vegetables that arrived in early spring have begun to seed. Now for nurturing it all. One of the best parts of gardening this time of year are the regular sojourns around and through the garden space noting changes and health of all these living beings.
This is when foliar spraying becomes such an important tool. Regular feeding offers broad spectrum nutrition to compensate for less than optimum soil mineral nutrition.
Foliar spraying homemade mineral amendments is simple, low cost, regenerative and sustainable. The leaves of the plants should be glossy and growth vigorous. This condition will all but eliminate insect pressure. If you are reading this you probably understand these important concepts or are learning about them.
Many plants require two years of growth before they produce seeds. These beets grown last year have been stored in the refrigerator all winter long. They will be planted now to produce seeds for next year.
Beans are a wonderful food to plant in large quantities. Not only do they taste great, but it is easy to grow an abundance in a relatively small space and storage is simple. The dried beans planted last year tasted so good when compared to the ones we purchased in the store, we had to grow more! This year we planted about ten times more black turtle beans that will dry on the plant in the garden, harvested and stored for eating throughout the year, until we run out. Now that is simple and easy.
Green beans offer a similar abundance. We are always inundated with them. After eating as many as possible the rest will be turned into “dilly beans”. Using a half sour pickle brine (salt not vinegar), garlic, horse radish, dill, pepper corns, and whatever else from the garden may spur creativity, these extra beans will be stuffed into half gallon jars and left to ferment. Not only do they explode with flavor and last a long time, they offer all the benefits of fermented foods deep into the winter and early spring when needed most.
The plant growth seen this month has been phenomenal. The elderberry’s have tripled in size with new growth as high as seven feet tall. New growth on all the fruit trees and bushes has also been tremendous. Actual pollination of fruit was spotty on the apples and pears with only specific sections of the trees bearing fruit. Pollinators seem to continue to be sparse when compared to previous years. Normally the din heard when passing some plants is enough to turn heads. Fruit on the peach trees and blueberries is dense. The cat birds and others have already begun eating the black currents and cherries.
Garlic scapes are being cut and included in many meals as a garnish, sautéed as a crouton for salad or the ever-standard pesto to top just about anything. These delights showed up early this year, very early for many folks around here. They store very well in the refrigerator for a long time.
Mountain laurel blossoms were especially lush and also early. The lack of pollinators is still a concern. We are not seeing the numbers or varieties that we are used to seeing. The din heard around trees or shrubs that are loaded with flowers only observed once so far. It is always important to observe what is going on outside in the insect world. Our well being depends on it. What did well, came in early or is different in your part of the world.
Venus is rising a little higher in the evening sky. Look to the west just after sunset to see this bright beauty. I am always excited to see Venus as it comes around from the back side of the sun, rising up in the western sky, knowing that as it sets in the coming months a “crescent” image will be visible through a telescope. I am reminded that this is one of the images Galileo saw that convinced him the earth was not the center of the universe. He recognized that “crescent” was caused by the changing orientation of the planet as it passes between the sun and earth.