Yesterday, on the longest day of the year, Brandon and I worked in the garden late into the muggy evening hours. Dark storm clouds on the horizon gave us some warning that heavy rain was on the way. It didn't last long, and the sun burned away the moisture quickly, making a bright rainbow across the sky.
I ran for my phone so I could take it's picture, and walked all the way from the front yard to the garden admiring it on my way. Can you see that clump of vegetation near the back door in the photo above? That's the herb spiral! It's out of control with giant sunflowers, zinnias, and wild milkweed. There are plenty of herbs mixed in there too. When I walk outside from the backdoor I am greeted by a wonderful sweet smell. It's the milkweed flowers.
The milkweed flower clusters are as big as soft balls, and make a wonderful scent. It's a good thing I can smell them from feet away because they have so many insects crawling on the blooms that leaning in for sniff is risking a bug up the nose.
On the other side of the door is a wild elderberry shrub with giant platter sized flower heads. It smells nice too, even though the blooms are so heavy they have pulled the entire plant to the ground.
Brandon! Look up, there's a rainbow!
The greenhouse, which was an oasis of warmth during the late winter and early spring, is not a very comfortable place to linger now that the summer heat has arrived and there's no more lettuce to harvest. I routinely look in through the open sides to make sure the plants aren't dehydrating, but it had been more than several days since I ventured inside to face the heat. Weeds have colonized the pathways, but the sunflowers, kale, brussel sprouts, volunteer tomatoes, and the nasturtium flowers must be loving the heat, because they are growing fast.
The brussel sprouts in the greenhouse got sprayed with thuricide/Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is helping keep the caterpillars from doing too much damage. The brussel sprouts I moved to the garden outside look terrible. Two of them turned yellow and died, and the remaining plants are less than half the size of those in the greenhouse.
The sunflowers are blooming! Most of them are so tall the flowers are smooshed against the plastic on the roof.
Some of the nasturtiums have orange flowers and some are red. I ate one of each and they both taste super peppery. Like eating hot wasabi! Whew!
Out in the garden, Brandon cut down all the weeds around the tomato plants, which have a ring of hay mulch, because it's time to add the tomato cages and stakes. I pulled weeds by hand from around the dying brussel sprouts, and tiny lettuce plants. I have a healthy patch of kale, some marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers, some green beans, and sprawling tangle of cucumber plants. Despite the rabbits, I can still find the sweet potato vines, too.
A cucumber! I've had such terrible luck growing any kind of vine plant that I really never expected to harvest a cucumber. The seeds for these plants come from our good neighbor. He always gets a glut of cucumbers and shares. He told me to save some seeds, so I let some dry out on a paper plate. So easy. These must be hardy plants because they got no special treatment and they are making fruit!
Look at that. I could make some pickles!