Hope, Hope, Hope, Hope…

Kitchen Gardening, Nature, Photography

I almost hesitate to say it, for fear of jinxing it somehow, but this has absolutely been my most successful year in the garden thus far. Who knew how much difference a fence, dogs keeping deer away and two additional raised beds would make?

Well, I did, of course, and now I have no one to blame but myself (and weather and pests and equipment malfunctions) when things go wrong — as they inevitably do. The potatoes, for example, once growing so prodigiously, completely died off after our seemingly endless rains turned to a seasonally-appropriate hot spell. Well, that and the fact that I had to send the irrigation controller for repair after it apparently got wet. Hm.

Still, I’ve had a bountiful harvest. The tomatoes, especially, are ripening like crazy, and every day I’m bringing in two or three gorgeous big specimens and a dozen Sun Gold cherries. The salads, they have been delicious and fresh.

Right now, my main harvesting focus is around blackberries, as I’ve got my mind set on entering a local homemade ice cream contest, and blackberries will be key to making the beautiful batch I have in mind. Slowly, but surely, I’m adding to my refrigerator stash, longing for the day when I’ll turn them into sweet, sweet syrup.

berry-spider

This spider guards my blackberries against lesser bugs.

Meanwhile, the serious summer fruits are starting to grow. For kicks, I trailed some watermelon vines over a support, trying to keep them contained somewhat. These two little ones are likely of the Mayo variety, purchased via Native Seeds. Not sure how big they will turn out to be.

baby-watermelon-2-2016

baby-watermelon-2016

Meanwhile, in the shade of another plant lies this little beauty, which is likely a Sugar Baby like the ones we’ve grown recently.

baby-watermelon3-2016

We’re going to be away for a couple of weeks later in the summer, so my big struggle now is to ensure the automatic watering system is super reliable, and I might get our pet sitter to pick a few tomatoes while she’s here, too. After all this loveliness, I’d hate to come back to dead dry plants, but it’s already been a memorable harvest (I forgot to mention the eggplant and basil!) that I hope is a hint of what’s to come in future seasons.

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