Monday, July 27, 2009

Time to Enjoy the Fruits of our Labor

A fair number of our meals in the past few days have been straight from the garden. Yesterday, for example, we picked blueberries (but they are winding down now) and they were part of the dessert for lunch today and also picked kale, Swiss chard, and pole beans (all of which made up supper yesterday). Two days ago I pried out much of the garlic and now have 25 or 30 pounds hanging in my shed to dry. The bulbs were larger than I have ever had before so this may be an especially good year for garlic. I even picked my first tomato but haven't eaten it yet. It wasn't fully ripe but I didn't want to take the chance that something would come along and take a bite out of it. We have also been harvesting a few of the potatoes.

We also "harvested" our third ground hog and our third raccoon and had them removed. (I don't have a problem with raccoons and wish they would stop going into the traps.) Squirrels, as they have for years, are knocking off or carrying away the large number of pears on our one pear tree. We hardly ever eat more than a few of them because the squirrels usually clean out everything before any are ripe enough for me. I did bring a few in to sit on the porch and ripen - if I didn't pick them too soon for that. The main purpose of the pear tree is to keep squirrels from eating other things.

The deer has returned. For the past three days we have seen deer tracks in the garden. They come up the side road from the front of the house - either choosing the mulched path through the flowers or just using the road. I could see tracks in the mulch leading to the gate to the back yard but didn't see any tracks immediately on the back yard side, but there were clearly new tracks near the potatoes and in the lettuce bed. We do have a fence around our yard (but five feet is no barrier for the deer) and a thick row of shrubs next to the fence on the road side. I haven't yet figured out where the deer jumps the fence nor have we actually seen a deer anywhere on our property this year. I don't see much damage if any at all - maybe a few pole beans nibbled higher than the ground hog would have reached - but my concern is what a deer could do. [I know what ground hogs like but what vegetables deer prefer.] The hoof print is no more than 2 inches so I assume this is not a large deer.

Snails remain abundant on our property but they are not such a problem in the vegetable garden as they were earlier. I still remove them when I see them.

We have picked about 12 1/2 pounds of blueberries so far this year - just from six bushes. Weight-wise that has been our biggest producer but squash (for sure) and tomatoes (I hope) will soon provide greater poundage (and they are a lot faster to pick).

I hope your garden is growing well.

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