June is bringing lots of dry, hot weather to Portland and the garden is responding! I am now watering everyday, which seems just too early in the season. But on my evening garden strolls I was noticing dry, curled leaves. Our entire garden is filled with berry bushes, fruit trees and vegetables so it’s crucial they get the water they need to set a good harvest.
I am letting most of our artichokes flower this year instead of harvesting them. They are my favorite vegetable, an easy-to-grow perennial in climates with mild winters and the bees love their purple blossoms when they fully open.
Juniper continues to spend practically every waking moment searching the garden for berries. We currently are harvesting ever-bearing strawberries, ever-bearing raspberries, black currants and blueberries. The plants are still new and small, but there is enough fruit to keep her successfully harvesting.
Our early season crops like spinach have bolted. I think they got in the ground too late to give us much of a harvest, but I will save the seed and replant late summer for a fall and winter crop. Meanwhile, we are harvesting onions, kale, lettuce, swiss chard and beet greens.
I planted tons of squash and melon seeds all around the garden to fill in empty spots, while we wait for our permanent shrubs to grow in. Unfortunately, very few seeds came up. I am blaming our terrible heavy clay soil. We spent eight years building up great soil at our old homestead, but we’re starting over from scratch on our new homestead and clearly have a long ways to go. The squash I do have are just starting to blossom and I’m looking forward to the first harvest.
Our tomato plants are tall and covered with flowers! I always encourage folks to plant their favorite heirlooms, but throw in an Early Girl or other early-ripening variety to get some fruit sooner. I, of course, never seem to take my own advice. So I’ll be waiting another several weeks before I get my first juicy heirloom from the garden.
Watching Juniper fall in love with our garden just makes my heart swell with joy. She was out picking black currants for me while I was inside making lunch today. I managed to snap a quick picture of her in action. As eager as I am to start filling the harvest basket, I think I am even more excited to watch her bite into the first ripe cherry tomato, to try a homegrown bell pepper and help me spot all the zucchini we’ll have in a few short weeks.