Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blessed Rain and Garden Update

The last weeks of June and the beginning of July brought some pretty scorching temps here in Nova Scotia. "No outside fires" banned across the province which was a shame (but necessary) as we do enjoy our little back yard firepit. At the end of a day, especially if we've been tidying up in the garden, we burn debris and reward ourselves with a glass of wine or whatever. You can just see the flames off to the left above, the garden lush after the downpours.  Refreshed with mushroom compost, cutting a good 'edge', the beds look smart this time of year.

Finally, the roof on the Summerhouse shed is finished and although a big job removing the old windows we are pleased. You can compare with the last blog post in which the shed looks very broken. Thanks to our neighbour Quentin for helping out!

So what's growing in our Nova Scotia zone 6 garden right now? Had my fill of lettuce and salad greens..enough so that most are pulled out and composting. No guilt, no guilt, no guilt :( But the peas have come on strong and one variety in particular is prolific. Golden Sweet Pea is not only beautiful and glowing, the see-through pods are buttery, and delicious. They are my favourite ever ever ever! Dill and garlic scapes and a few green peas add to the bowl.
The blooms of the Golden Sweet Peas (seeds available at Baker Creek or Johnny's seeds) are a bi-color pink and purple fading to blue when finishing.  Awesome!
If we want a side of salad greens right now, we use the thinnings of baby beets, baby leaves of chard, the inside new leaves of kale, tiny garlic scapes just forming, tiny flowers off the Egyptian Walking Onions, (above mentioned peas) any and all herbs that would enhance the side, served (we like) with a stronger dressing as you would on a Caesar salad.

There is a carrot we tried this year called Nelson, an F1 from Johnny's Seeds in Maine and it too, has been prolific and tasty. Not as sweet as some, I will admit, but a great success, and carrots can be so fussy I find.
No strawberries this year sadly, as the bed was five years old and so not really producing. Next year perhaps, a bed devoted entirely to berries and I will cover them like a grown up gardener would do so the chipmunks and squirrels don't get them first. But, that means finding the plants for sale now.  Red currant bushes are loaded and they will satisfy almost as nicely but it isn't the same, you know. We have four shrubs of red currant, planted way back. Oh gosh, I can't believe it was sixteen years ago. Have we lived here on the south shore of Nova Scotia that long!! Apparently so as I just asked the Captain and he says seventeen years ago.

And that leads me to admit, we took out the lilac bed and yes, we will forever mourn grubbing out 'Beauty of Moscow' the lilac we loved the most. Sadly, the forest grew a lot taller in seventeen years than anticipated and the whole planting had become sad..just sad, tired, leggy and shady. It is surprising how beautiful the burning roots and branches smelled last night. Made me even sadder though.

This spring and summer was especially more difficult regarding weeds unwanted seeds. For the first time in a few years there was very little compost to spread on the beds to freshen them early on when the weather turned warm. So, I bought some, but too late realized that lovely bucket of compost had been left uncovered from the year before and OMG, the unwanted seeds that sprouted. I guess I can be thankful there were no invasives in there, and hopefully only annual unwanted seeds but I guess time will tell. Let that be a hard lesson learned because I tell you there is nothing sneakier than a clump of couch grass hiding in a bed of carrot fronds.

The rain continues thankfully but please don't let the tomatoes get blight, please don't! I can live without lettuce greens, carrots, peas and more, but I can't live without tomatoes.