This year has been going much better than last year, already we've eaten a ton out of the garden. Snap peas, a bounty of salad greens, cucumbers, yellow squash, strawberries, basil . . . it is so fun to create meals out of the garden. I know lots of people do this every day, but the thrill never gets old for me!
The other thing I am working on is figuring out what will grow in the garden through the fall/winter. When my friends built the beds they put in some hoops for turning the beds in to mini green houses and last year we didn't take advantage of them. According to Sunset we can do a few different root crops and relatively hardy greens. So far I put in three broccoli plants and I need to get other starts/seeds soon.
These are my hydrangeas. Next to peonies, which have a very short life span, hydrangeas are my very favorite flower. I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but the bloomss near the top of the picture are more purple and the ones closer to the bottom are more blue. I wonder how one plant creates different shades of flowers? The other exciting thing is that the plant behind this one is blooming this year, which it hasn't ever done before.
This is "bed one". It is currently home to tomatoes, basil, dill, thyme and carrots and it used to hold the snap pea plants. The thing I am most excited about in this bed is we have one volunteer tomato plant that we left in the bed and it has fruit on it! Amazing how that works, huh? (yes, I am being a bit facetious)
This is bed two. We have strawberries, yellow squash, cucumbers, salad greens, sunflowers, blueberries and I think there are onions in the far back in a pot. The strawberries were an experiment, I got two different kinds, one that was supposed to produce fruit quite a bit earlier than the other. This is their first year in the bed and they produced fruit at the same time, so maybe next year it will be staggered? Also, there are still tons of berries ripening on it, but they don't taste that good anymore. Earlier in the summer they were amazing. I wonder why?
These are the sunflowers. It is probably hard to tell but the tallest one is maybe nine or 10 feet tall. The second tallest one is still over my head and I am six feet exactly. I love them, and the neighbors love them, too! I can see all of the beds from the kitchen window and it is quite lovely to stare at them while I do dishes.
These are the brussels sprouts in bed three, planted at the request of Iris. I am curious how these turn out!
This is bed three from a different view. Cut off on the right corner are the brussels sprouts. Here we have onions, broccoli starts, pumpkin and some flowers, but I don't know what kind.
We have quite a bit of empty space in the beds and I'm not sure how to be more efficient with the planting. I suppose that will get easier over time and trial and error though.
I am glad to announce that our plum trees have very, very few plums on it. Yes, I love plums as much as the next person, and even let people pick gobs and gobs off the trees last year, but they are a giant pain in the butt and are very messy. Both trees are right against our deck, as well. Don't tell anyone, but I desperately want them cut down. Our apple tree also has very few apples on it. I could take or leave the apples. They are nowhere near as messy as the plums, but I don't do much with them. I am not in to canning or anything.
The one thing that IS going strong in the yard are the grape vines! See that cluster above? There are dozens more just like it. YUM. Those grapes are tiny and sweet when they ripen and I could stand there all day gorging myself.
Recently I went on a rampage over how much work our house and yard were and how much I wanted a house with basically no yard. However, the more quiet time I spend in the garden, the more I realize that sometimes, the work is worth it. This time of year at least, the work is worth it.
The yard has a looooong ways to go before it's really awesome and comfortable, but considering we have lived here a bit over two years, I think we've come so far. Now we just need to replace the shed, take down one or both plum trees, trim the apple tree, plant more stuff around the edges, do something with the narrow strip on the south side of our house, get the front yard in order . . . I tend to look at the negative, but really there is a mountain of positive things about the yard, if I would just let myself notice them.