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A Midsummer Garden Dream
by Leigh in ,

It's midsummer and this year our vegetable garden is plentiful.  I started to pick arugula and chard the third week of June.  Here are some pictures of the garden in June as well as the first pick of the season:

Garden Picture - June 23

Chard and Arugula picked on June 23

Sunday's harvest included basil, snow peas, arugula and chard.  These summer greens are thriving and enriching neighborhood dinner tables.   

Each year the garden expands and this year the planted area measures 24' x 4'.  I am trying my hand at growing some new things including snow peas, basil and parsley (planted from seed vs. starts), two varieties of beets, arugula, eggplant, brussel sprouts, and heirloom tomatoes.  Young seedlings persevered early June hail storms and adult plants have escaped detection of the deer that are munching in the yard next door.  The aphids are staying put in the elm trees they inhabit a half block away.    I expect that the beans will be ready to harvest this week.  If the July heat continues we might even have tomatoes by the end of the month!  Brussel sprouts mature later in the year and my research indicates that each plant produces about 80 - 100 sprouts.  With eight plants that will be a yield of 640 - 800 sprouts!  Here is a picture of the garden today:

Wow!  Look at how the garden has grown in the last three weeks!  
I never thought I would enjoy gardening.  When we were kids growing up my parents planted a huge garden to save money.  The yard was about 3/4 of an acre and I am guessing the garden measured the entire width of the back yard x 12' deep.  Besides what we grew, Dad brought home bushels of peaches, apples, cucumbers and other vegetables from the farmer's market.  Every weekend was devoted to pickling, canning and freezing. Standing at the kitchen sink peeling the skins off tomatoes that had been dipped in boiling water, I vowed as a teenager that I would never have ANYTHING to do with growing vegetables in the future.  That certainly did not pan out - the pictures above prove that attitudes and values change with adulthood!

As you read this, maybe you are asking, "How did that happen?"  Quite simply, I found that I care where my food comes from.  A few years ago, I started with tomato plants in pots. The next year, a small plot in the yard.  The food tasted great and it was a hoot to pick dinner from the yard - in my own small way I was taking a stand against everything that Food Inc. represented.  I shared the extras with neighbors and got to know folks a bit better.  At the end of last year, I decided to add another 32 square feet for more variety.  I am having fun with this year's experiment and added new crops.  I intend to hold off on canning and freezing as long as possible... I will keep you updated on that one with later posts as well as sharing how I am using what we harvest.  (Fettuccine with arugula pesto is a current favorite.)

I hope you are having a good growing season!


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