I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs

Friday, June 26, 2020

The lull before the storm...

Its that time between planting and harvesting. The growing time. A sort of lull, before the crops start bearing in earnest, before there is something to process for canning or freezing, every day or so.

Today, I planted the second patch of bush beans and the second planting of carrots. The beets got thinned, the remaining rutabagas that had to be replanted due to cut worms, are big enough now and were mulched. The peas, potatoes and tomatoes are blooming, the pumpkin, squash and cucumber vines are starting to crawl. The climbing beans are starting up their supports. We are harvesting broccoli heads and side shoots, lots of greens and the odd strawberry from the infant strawberry bed. Its the time to savour all the work of planning and planting, and just enjoy watching everything grow.

Today I took inventory of the remaining canned produce in the cool storage room, and moved what was left to its own shelf, making room for this year's bounty. There are a few pints of relish, some dill pickles, salsa, pasta sauce, chili sauce, but  only two jars of tomatoes left. All the jam and jelly is gone except some apple sauce, apple butter and some canned apple pie filling. I re-inventoried the freezer, trying to decide if the contents will fit into the small freezer, so the big one can be defrosted and cleaned in preparation. The last bag of wild raspberries are thawing in the fridge, ready to be made into jam tomorrow. There is also one bag of wild blueberries that is next in the queue for jam.

We moved here in the summer of 2017, and didn't have much time to create gardens and get anything planted. There were no gardens here at all, except for 3 overgrown flower beds. We peeled sod for the first raised bed and brought in some soil to be able to plant it by mid-July, so we  had some greens and climbing beans that year.  Luckily the killing frosts held off to early October, so with some judicial covering of the bed when frost threatened, we ate fresh greens and beans, but had nothing to put down other than the harvest from the old apple trees, the wild raspberries and blackberries.
We created two more beds that summer, layering cardboard from our moving boxes with leaves collected from the bush and a generous layer of horse manure from a neighbour down the road. In the spring, the beds dug over easily, and increased our growing space. Each summer we have increased the number of raised beds until now there are 7. All are 16 X 4, except one which is 16 X 3, and one is 12 X 4. The field garden is hand dug, 31 X 13 ft. so far. Every square foot was turned over, the sod shaken, the roots and rocks removed. It started out as 30 X 10, and each summer I increase its size by a foot wide strip down either the side or the end, or both if I'm feeling ambitious! We've come a long way. Just wish we'd taken some BEFORE pictures, as the AFTER pictures are very satisfying!