listen to John

We had friends over for dinner the other night. I know! It was the first time in years that we have entertained. The weather was perfect and we were able to enjoy our meal outside. The wasps that terrorized us all summer have seemingly suffered communal death and we were able to sit out all night. Good riddance to them. I have to say it was nice to visit with friends. We will start slow. Two guests, whom we know are careful, was a great start.

Now, fair warning the video tonight is from the garden, so not whales, but technically still the nature channel.

I am probably not telling you anything you don’t already know but it is worth mentioning for the record that it was a strange year indeed, for gardeners in this area. The spring weather was cold and rainy, causing a very slow start to the growing season, not only for flowers but for the fruits and vegetables.

Somehow, the pollinators were confused and missed our fruit trees. Not sure how my neighbours made out but we have one plum and maybe six apples total on three trees. We had no tent caterpillars and I succeeded in what I thought was a stellar pruning job last winter, but still no fruit. I blame the bees. We intend to raise our own mason bees next year.

The flowers in the garden have never been so happy. I had tons of water (see the next post) and everyone was well nourished. Although everything flowered later than normal, they were happy and rewarded me with amazing bouquets. The roses and hydrangea were especially lovely.

The vegetables struggled with their slow start and with varying results. The cabbage production, both red and green, were great. Certainly more than enough for E. Peas and green beans were a waste of time as was the asparagus and spinach. Pumpkins are few and small but certainly enough for just the two of us. But the garlic, the garlic was awesome, and the figs, omg the figs!! So many figs off my little tree. The rhubarb too, we had two full harvests. The Brussel sprout’s success remains to be seen as they have until the winter to prove themselves.

I have struggled for years with an inability to keep garlic cloves useful long into the winter. I would go to the pantry for garlic in January only to find dried out bits. This summer, we added a food dehydrator to our kitchen arsenal. Armed with all the solar power a girl could want, I can dehydrate every day at this time of year from 12 pm-6 pm without affecting our systems. After sharing with three who like to cook, I am left with two quart-sized jars of the most gorgeous dried garlic. It can be tossed into any recipe for that heavenly taste long into the winter. In addition, I was able to save twenty heads of the garlic to replant plant in October.

But what about the tomatoes? They are late. In past years, I would have finished canning my harvest and more than likely would have their beds all packed up by now. But we have only harvested 14 pounds so far and I have just begun to cook my sauces. We moved four plants into the greenhouse to see how long we can keep them going for day to day produce and so far they are happy. I have pruned back the plants remaining in the garden leaving only the tomatoes on the vines. The hope being that September provides enough warmth to ripen most of them. Worst case scenario, I will pick them green and allow them to ripen indoors. Tomatoes will do that and it can be helpful if the temperatures cool suddenly.

In summary, although the weather conditions proved challenging we were able to grow plenty of food for the two of us. With the price of vegetables in the store these days, it is well worth the effort.

We aren’t prepared for a great deal of socializing just yet. Outdoor dinners with one or two friends or evenings at a bonfire are definitely what I can see us doing for a few months still. While most everyone else seems to have moved ahead, pandemic not withstanding, we are still cautious.

Now, please for a moment or two if you will, relax and

listen to John

6 thoughts on “listen to John

  1. It’s probably a good idea to raise your own bees! And yes it was a super late start here too. Can you believe the beans are Just now blooming here ? And believe me they were planted on time! Doubt they will have a chance to produce before it turns cold. Loved seeing the seed to table video.


  2. Huh. Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve every seen a honeybee on the islands. Yellow-Jackets, certainly, and all manner of interesting flies and flying beetles. I’m sure some of them pollinate. Were there enough “chilling hours” for the apples last winter?


    • We had two people raising bees for a few years but the hives were invaded by wasps and all were killed.. I really notice their loss… it was a very cold winter last year… It is most likely I didn’t prune as well as I thought I did….


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