garden grab bag

I usually try to write about single topics here but since I've fallen way behind in documenting what's happening in the garden, this post is going to be a bit of a catch-all (though by no means comprehensive!) In my printed gardening journals this is when I would just scribble a list of disconnected notes without much description.

As shown in the photo above, my walnut tree is covered with nuts. I actually don't like walnuts (the tree was here long before I was) so I usually just let the squirrels enjoy the bounty. But I do appreciate so many other aspects of the tree–it's visual beauty throughout the seasons (even in winter), the shade it provides in the heat of summer, and the food it offers to the woodpeckers who frequent it. There's something about this tree that draws me to it and almost every day I have a moment where I just stand and stare up into its branches.

At the beginning of last month we harvested the very last of our spring carrots. This was actually one of the kids' gardening projects. I always get a "kaleidoscope" seed mix of red, purple, yellow and orange carrots for them to plant. They aren't necessarily the sweetest or best tasting carrots I've ever had, but the kids love being surprised by what color is going to come out of the ground. And they do look so pretty cut up in a salad together. (Unless of course it's a freak carrot like the one we picked in April!)

Most of our summer crops are going full tilt now, and I'm getting almost frightened by the "Little Shop of Horrors"-like pumpkin plant that has grown out of the garden and across the patio. This is the second year the kids are trying their luck at growing giant
(Dill's Atlantic) pumpkins. This variety supposedly can
produce up to 800 lb. pumpkins. Yikes! You could take Cinderella to the ball in one of those.

Last year we had some relatively big pumpkins (in the 50 lb range) but lost a few right at the end to rot and squirrels. Hopefully we'll do better this year. There's no scale reference in these photos, so please note that each of these leaves is 22" across! Scary!

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And while we're seeing the last of the spring crops (though we're still eating peas like crazy) and enjoying the peaking summer crops, it's comforting to see the start of some of our late summer and fall crops, like kale. For years I really only planted a summer garden, but I feel so much more in sync with the cycles of nature when I grow food year round. Which reminds me, I better get some broccoli planted soon!

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