Suburban Homestead Update: June

June is the month when all manner of craziness breaks forth in the garden. Warm temperatures, rain, and plenty of sunshine encourage the plantings to do it up right. Here’s a glimpse at what’s happening at The Thistle Field:

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Little Thistle and I survey the kingdom …

The pumpkins, zucchini, summer squash, luffa, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, et al. are coming up nicely. These Eight-Ball Zucchini are looking quite lovely, just outside the front door. (I love planting food in my front yard!)

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The berry bushes are wowing us this year. So far, I have harvested nearly 40 pounds of strawberries. That may or may not sound like a lot to you, but we feel very happy to be pulling in this harvest! We’ve been eating a lot of strawberries, and preserving them in various ways. One freezer is loaded with jar after jar of frozen berries.

Check out the currants, blueberries, and blackberries! Why, hello, lovelies!

I am excited about the gooseberries. The bush is loaded with tart, green globes, and I am plotting how we will enjoy them.

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The raspberries are full and leafy. We have red, golden, and black raspberries. It’s the black raspberries that make me giddy. I’ll be making a double-sized order of black raspberry jam, because we ran out early last year and that was sad.

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Elder flowers! I am in awe of the elderberry bush. It is a native plant associated with much folklore, and it has magnificent healing powers. We rely on homemade elderberry syrup when faced with colds, flu, or allergies.

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Even though the bush beans and pole beans went in a little late, they are doing well. I have planted about five different varieties this year.

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The onions are doing well, but their leaves are a bit worse for the wear due to some recent storms with heavy winds. I depend on these 200-some red, white, and yellow onions, so I am hoping they keep doing their onion thing.

Due to the sudden and rather intense heat, the remaining broccoli rabe bolted. I’ll cut it down and let it try again for a second cutting. We continue to enjoy turnips, and the radishes are ready, but I am still waiting for the beets.

Cabbages! The leaves are huge and cool to the touch. Perfect round heads are forming, and I am anticipating these beauties. The Early Jersey Wakefield cabbages have formed cone-heads and are looking great.

The tomatoes are flourishing, as is the kale, but as for the Brussels sprouts … To whomever is munching on them: Cut it out!

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Oh, and here’s my latest kitchen experiment: Homemade apple cider vinegar. I wanted to get the most out of my produce, so I saved our apple cores and peels in the freezer, and then set about crafting my own vinegar. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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What’s happening where you are? What summer delicacies do you await with anticipation?

With Peace,

Jennie

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