early july gardening

One Bed of Potatoes Harvested

Sweet Peppers

Yellow Zucchini

After lunch each day I've been taking a stroll around our vegetable, flower and fruit gardens in the backyard. It's usually bright, sunny, hot and a fifteen minute stroll is enough, but I do love seeing all the blooms and growth in that setting. It's usually quiet as the children and dog prefer the cool of our home...we are enduring the Midwest heat and humidity after all.

Last year we planted 12 blackberry bushes which began a new section of the yard...the fruit garden. Technically, it is not an orchard since the fruit is not grown commercially. Fruit garden sounds fine to me. Discovering a sale recently, we went ahead and purchased an apple tree, peach tree and two dozen strawberry plants. No, this isn't the ideal season for planting, but the sale was so good, and we lovingly tend all that we grow, so are hopeful that these new additions will be healthy, grow and eventually produce. (We've used Stark Bros. for our fruit and have been pleased so far with the company.)

Usually on my walks I eye the blackberry bushes, which are growing as long vines or canes. They frequently need to be trained within their support trellises and I gently weave a few of these canes each day. The berries have been a beautiful red color, for some time, and firm to the touch. 

In order to be consumed, however, we are anticipating a deep purple and soft to the touch. My eye caught one such berry today, and before I could contemplate my action I ate it. What amazing flavor! This was the first edible from the fruit garden, and we're so excited to reap more. Growing fruit is absolutely foreign to us, but we'll take it just as we've done the vegetables, with hard work and cultivating good soil. 

We are currently enjoying, potatoes, green beans, lettuce, swiss chard, carrots, sweet peppers, tomatoes, squash and herbs for our meals. The abundance is so great that I'm able to go ahead and freeze some produce for the winter, which I love. My daughter recently helped me pick and cut the beans seen below. 

Green Beans cut French Style

We're also so fortunate to have an amazing amount of pollinators in our yard. Many, many bumblebees bumble about the yard from flower to flower. They're actually quite comical to watch, tumbling about. 

The second creature above is a new one to us. Snowberry Clearwing is it's amazing name, and makes it sounds like it should belong in a fantasy world. It is in the hummingbird moth family and has a long proboscis, similar to a Hummingbird, by which it drinks nectar from plants. In the photo it is enjoying a Butterfly Bush bloom.

Here are a few more blooms. This is such a beautiful season to enjoy.