This weekend was an exciting time for my adventures in the garden. For one, I finally finished planting my shade garden and we enjoyed smoothies during our first woodland garden picnic. Hydrangeas are blooming, bee balm is attracting so many hummingbirds that I don’t even need to put out my feeder and daisies are calling to be picked.
|The lavender in this vase reminds me of my wedding bouquet. Every Irish bride needs some lavender blooms in her bouquet for good luck, even if they're out of season.|
What’s more, tiny little cucumbers are making their first appearances and little tomatoes are finally on the scene. Will I really have ripe tomatoes before the end of July? Is it possible?! I usually get my garden in so late that I don’t see tomatoes until August, or during one season, in September. I’ll be thrilled to start harvesting produce this month. I’ll be so proud because I grew all of my veggies from seed, and for the first time since before Nathan was born. They’re all mine, and I’m proud of the plants and of my expertise (after all these years of gardening!).
After eight years of gardening (that first year was just a small patch of marigolds, but it still counts, right?), I really feel like my experience is paying dividends. Each year I find ways to better manage and prune my tomato plants, and this year I started more actively pruning my herbs for drying and keeping them under control and from blotting out the sun from other plants. I’ve finally become a less greedy gardener (I tend to over-plant and over-crowd), and for this I think I’ll see much more, better quality fruit and an overall healthier garden.
I don’t expect to be able to preserve very much from this year’s harvest (especially with room for just five tomato plants) but with help from the Big Book of Preserving the Harvest I’ll see what I can come up with. At the very least I want to make raspberry preserves from the wild raspberries that grow on the farm. Every year I want to make something with them, but without proper planning, I scarf them down fresh before I even know it. This year will be different!
Just like in life, my hopes are high, but they’re tempered with a dose of realism. I only have the time to do so much, so I have to [accurately] decide what size gardens I can realistically manage, which plants I’ll carefully select for those small but cherished spaces and how to best manage my time and do the tasks that need doing to ensure the best harvest I can get. I’m so pleased that I have the time and energy to really do this. It’s going to be a very good summer.