Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Yard Walkabout

Early August and summer seems to be zooming by. So much going on this time of year that I've been missing days at a time here at Spicebush Log. Then I got a nice comment from my blog friend John, which inspired me to take a break from my work and walk about the yard. Just a 15 minute walkabout and here is what I saw.

First to the vegetable patch to check on the okra -- a favorite of my Indian relatives. A few more to pick today; note the lovely hibiscus-like flower; hibiscus and okra are in the same family, Mallow.

Then the celeriac (which I am growing for the first time) looked like it needed some organic fish fertilizer tea that I have brewing in the garden, so I gave them a drink. Then to the melon patch to check on the size of the watermelons and cantelopes. My young niece Lia and I are having a melon contest later this summer to see who grows the best melon (size, taste, and looks will all be criteria). I check my melons every day. Hot and sunny July was a good month for melon growth.

A walk by the hazelnut bush revealed a handful of Japanese beetles so in the collection jar they went. Thankfully their numbers have declined of late. I paused briefly to look at the cool hazel fruit (nut) that is still ripening.

As I continued my walkabout I saw and heard the usual buzz of activity among the flowers. Among the diversity of insect life, a beetle, a fly, a skipper butterfly, and a dragonfly caught my eye.

Last stop, the peach trees. The fruits are still hard and small, just slightly bigger than a lime. Two baby robins sat silently in their nest tucked into the crotch of the old peach tree. They will be off on their own by the time the peaches are ready to harvest.

What a refreshing break from my work - thanks for the inspiration John. Lia -- don't forget to check your melons. For other readers - what's in your yard?


  1. Always a good idea to take a break in the garden! I've had a hard time doing so here recently because it's been so hot and buggy. But a few cooler windier days allowed me time to pull some weeds and plant more Fortex pole beans. I normally use heirloom seeds but have had such good luck with some hybrids from Johnny's that I favor some of those, like Fortex beans.

    Our garden is overflowing with tomatoes: Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Sudduth's Yellow Pear, Green Zebra and Stupice, a very early Polish one. We've been eating Serrano hot peppers for a month or more. Our Numex Joe Parker peppers will stay on plants until they turn red and we can dry them for chili powders and other such seasonings.

    Pulled most of the Red Giant Mustard yesterday to have with BBQ Chicken. These were volunteers just like our Lacinato and Red Russian kale. I tend to let one or two plants go to seed, esp. with prolific seed plants like kale and mustard.

    Along the side of the house, protected by an old storm window, are newly planted chois, basils and lettuces. The Joi Choi and Win-win Choi should be able to handle some frost and I HOPE that I'll be able to get second crops of the basils.

    Still waiting for our 1/2 inch Boothby Blonde cucumbers to get a bit bigger.

    For me August is always the best month in the garden. Most plants are bearing fruit, the weather is pleasant and we can just sit back and enjoy it! It's also a great time to watch the visiting butterflies visit the plants.

    Now what am I doing in here?!

  2. Ken -- your garden sounds so lush and delicious. Several people have mentioned the Fortex pole beans. I may try those next year. I've been reading Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest, with a desire to stretch out the gardening season. I haven't put much into practice yet, but that is my goal.