This week in the garden

Yesterday we had a mixed greens salad with our very own strawberries. I’d post photos, but it got eaten too quickly.

We only had two plants last year, so this is the first time that they’ve produced enough fruit all at the same time for us to serve it, rather than just furtively scarf individual berries while weeding. This one’s a bit of a little-red-hen situation; if you work in the garden, you get to eat the first strawberries, the first peas, the first green beans, the first baby carrots… I guess you can eat the first garlic if you really want to. And you don’t even have to share if you don’t want to. (although I do tend to call the kids over one at a time to partake in the fruit of the day.)

We have a couple of nanoclimates in our back yard. First, we have some drainage problems:

At least my kids can play in the canals. And the tomatoes never dry out.

I’m thinking this looks like an ideal location for cranberries or fiddleheads. I’m really keen on working with what arrives, rather than trying too hard to adapt the ground. Unfortunately, the rather large labyrinth that we built in the front yard is suffering from the same situation, so we have been unsuccessful at realizing my vision of a herb-garden meditative walk. I’m sure the right plants are out there, though. Cranberry labyrinth?

It is also the time of year that things grow so rapidly it blows my mind. This is the garden this morning:

This is the same garden four weeks ago:

We’ve already eaten the bok choy and radishes that were under the row cover and replanted with beans. One of the advantages of northern gardening is the very long daylight hours (15-1/2 hours today, three weeks after the summer solstice). It’s a good thing that we get something, because the trade-off is an absurdly short frost-free period. One of my friends who farms nearby only had 62 days between her last and first frost last summer. That’s bad when most short-season plants still claim 58 days to maturity… and they tend to get a slow start with cold overnights well into, um. This week, really. Let’s put it this way: I don’t bother to put away my mittens, just in case I want to go for a walk of a summer evening. Usually we find that we get our last frost around June 1, and our first around September 15. We must garden like crazy in between.

So, here we go, gardening like crazy! Next stop: snap peas!

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