We have not had too many hot days so far this summer, and I am not complaining. I know it will be here soon enough. Over the last couple of weeks we even had some fantastic thunder and lightening storms that we don't typically see. Despite not roasting under the hot summer sun, our garden is doing quite well! Our blueberry patch is bursting and ready to be picked. It is a fight to get to them before the birds. Those rascals take one nip out of a berry and then move onto the next one. We still pick the bird eaten berries and feed those to the chickens. The girls LOVE blueberries!
Our potted Baby Cakes Blackberry has set some really good fruit this year too. This was a birthday gift to myself last year. I love that we have a few blackberries to nibble on while hanging out in the backyard. Our two new trellising blackberry plants should be in full fruiting production next season, so that will be nice!
Our other vegetable beds are doing pretty well this year too. I gave up on growing green beans though. After three attempts at starting seeds and watching the birds swoop in and nibble them down, I gave up! The bed pictured above is one of four beds we added last year. This particular bed is full of lettuce, basil, beets, parsley, a few strawberry plants, and of course the zinnias. Next year, it will strictly be a strawberry bed as they will have sent out runners and filled up the bed. Yay for more strawberries! In our other raised beds we have pickling cucumbers, onions, potatoes, more beets, peppers, kale, broccoli and some brussel sprouts. I just pulled the last of the sugar snap peas (the ones that survived our dog eating them) to make room for the cucumbers to start climbing the trellis. And, once the rest of the onions are finished, I will throw in another crop of some sort. I just haven't decided yet.
The chickens love when I cut the grass. It's like a salad bar for lunch! They also are great for snacking on any of the slugs I gather from the garden. It is hilarious to toss a slug into their run and watch them chase each other around to see who gets to eat it. Lucky for them, finding slugs here in the Pacific Northwest is not so difficult, so they all end up with a treat!
I found one of our kitties, Bubs, hanging out between our grapes and apples this afternoon. He is looking quite perturbed at having to wear his collar. But, with all of the fledgling birds I have seen in the last few weeks, I don't want to risk him catching one of them. This silly collar has drastically reduced the number of 'gifts' he has left at our back door. If your kitty is a naughty bird catcher too, you can make a fabric collar for him in less than ten minutes!
Our summer garden has also been full of insects. Some of them are admittedly pests, but then others are beneficial. Like this beautiful Painted Lady Butterfly. I watched it flit from the rhubarb to the blueberries to the flowers while I watered the vegetable garden this afternoon. It finally stayed still long enough for me to snap a photo of it.
On the whole, I think our summer garden is off to a great start. I can't wait to start pulling in some of the beets and cucumbers to pickle them, and I need to start picking the blueberries and getting them into the freezer (or a dessert!). In a few short days we will be overrun by zucchini, and you may find me sneaking them onto my neighbor's doorstep in the middle of the night. I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer brings to the garden.
How is your garden doing this summer? Hopefully you have had more successes than complications! It seems that every year is a bit of an experiment. It's one of the things I love about gardening!