An endless summer. Today’s high was about 65°. More mushrooms are still coming up. I picked a few more small peppers and a some kale.

Heather made some grape juice from Merrie’s Concord grapes.

I was wrong about the mushrooms being done. We got one more flush, probably a couple pounds. They seemed to be fine through our first frost, too, which was last night. But it was a light frost that even the tomato plants survived.

We harvested a few acorns, and some Jerusalem artichokes that voluntarily grew by the outside water faucet, today.

We lit our first fire of the season in the woodstove yesterday. We still have a lot of splitting and stacking to do for next season’s firewood.

I think the mushroom harvest has finally ended. Wow! I’m pretty sure we have a year’s worth of dehydrated mushrooms thanks to Heather’s work.

The new growth on the artichoke plants looks great. They’re over two feet tall. Im excited to see what next year brings.

As of yesterday, we were still harvesting tomatoes and the late summer planting of peas. They’ve definitely slowed down, though, with fewer hours of daylight.

Heather pulled two potato plants today and got several pounds of potatoes. Here’s the biggest one:

She also harvested a rutabaga. There are several more out there. Plenty of kale and chard, too. And we haven’t even touched the leeks yet

Heather planted garlic in the garden and around the grapes around the beginning of October. It’s already sprouting.

We started moving some firewood into the carport for this season’s burning. We still have a lot of wood to split to get ready for next season.

Wow, the first rain of the season, and the winecap mushrooms are fruiting. It’s like magic! We’ve probably picked a gallon in two days. They’re huge.

Artichokes: I learned that they start their new growth for the next year in the current year. You’re supposed to chop down the old growth as soon as it’s done producing artichokes.

This evening brought the first rain of the season. We’re supposed to get a couple inches over the coming week. So we were busy outside today. We moved a lot of wood chips, put some tarps on things, and did a lot of general tidying.

Heather is dehydrating a bunch of peppers and onions. They smell so good.

We started harvesting our second pea planting of the season yesterday.

Heather pulled out the bush beans yesterday. We’ll get some dry beans plus some beans for planting next year. I turns out the beans kept on producing, and I think if we had kept harvesting, they would have kept coming.

The artichokes are sending up second sprouts now. I need to read up and learn what that’s all about.

Oh my, so much to catch up on since July!

The deer are still in the neighborhood but not in our garden. Success! (They’ve gotten to Grant’s garden, though.)

Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, coriander, green beans, celery, kale, and more kale… all doing well. We didn’t keep up with the cucumbers, so they grew huge and stopped producing more.

The corn didn’t get enough water this season, so some of the plants and ears are small. That will be pretty easy to fix next year.

And the rhubarb, wow! We just planted it this year, and I’ve had to harvest some stalks because the leaves were so large and heavy that they broke.

We got plenty of blackberries from our own land in early August, but even on September 1st we were still able to pick more. I have a blackberry rhubarb crisp with hazelnut topping in the oven right now.

The artichokes also delivered this summer. I had to give them each an occasional bucket of water to keep them going.

Plum harvest was not than sufficient; in fact, we didn’t even get around to harvesting all of them before it was too late… but we got enough. The Bartlett pears are coming in right now, and the tree is loaded. (It’s also loaded with Asian pears, but they’ve never been tasty from this tree.) Grapes will be coming ripe next.

To top things off: Heather bought a dairy goat yesterday. Day one was tough, but she had a comparatively smooth milking experience this evening. The goat is still experiencing relocation trauma, but it sounds like things will settle down over the next couple weeks. We’re keeping her separate from Karen the sheep, but we’ll get them together soon.

This is our second basket of beans, picked a few days after the first. It takes over an hour to harvest this amount.

Our trail cam recorded one deer the night after we put up the netting, and none since. Even the roses by the front porch are blooming again. Not sure why they disappeared so completely

With the deer gone, the peas have given another nice flush of pods to harvest.

We installed three lines of 50lb monofilament around the garden a few days ago. The same day, the field across the street got mowed. The guy who mowed said he saw several deer bed areas. Since that day, the garden is doing better, but we don’t know if it’s because of the monofilament fence or the mowed field.

The volunteer orach plants (from the ones that went to seed last year) have been doing really well. We got our first handful of bush beans today, and there are tons of blossoms. I think the peas are done (healthy vines but noore blossoms). The third planting of corn is sprouting.

Today I harvested 130 heads of Italian garlic. It was so satisfying.

This garlic was part of Josh’s birthday gift to me in September 2022. He ordered a beautiful purple italian variety for me to plant last fall. He also connected with a friend and got several pounds of another variety (which I call the “Roberts’ garlic”). Top 10 birthday gift. ❤️❤️❤️

During the 2021-2022 gardening season, ALL of our garlic plants (and leeks) were eaten by a gopher. Because of this, I over-planted garlic last September to ensure that we not only had backup garlic this summer, but backup-backup garlic, and worst-case-scenario garlic, and apocalyptic end-of-days garlic.

My strategy has worked so far. Kinda. We still have a gopher popping up near the pasture garlic patch (with only one alliumicide so far). But the garlic patch by the front door is untouched, as is the allium row in our main garden. We even had three renegade clumps of garlic pop up under the grape vines, which is where they had been planted the previous season. Those lucky three garlics somehow evaded the Great Gopher Garlic Gorge of 2021-2022.

When we lived in upstate New York, there was an older lady in our apartment building who gave me some advice. “If it’s 5 o’clock and you haven’t started cooking dinner, start sauteing some garlic– it’ll trick your husband into thinking dinner’s almost ready.” Not sure I’m on board with tricking my husband (plus, he’s always so willing to be a part of anything I do in the kitchen), however I do believe that the smell of sauted garlic is inspiring. It’s a solid flavor base for any meal.

None of the other garlic I planted last fall is ready to harvest yet. In my very first year of garlic growing, I harvested everything the week of the 4th of July. Today is only May 26th!! Hurray for early harvests!! Maybe the rest will be ready in July. You know when it’s time to harvest after you remove the scapes, then watch for the third leaf to begin browning, and that’s when you harvest. If the first bulb you pull isn’t fully formed wait a week and try, try again.

This September I will plant more and more and more garlic. My goal is to grow the garlic under the grape vines and beneath the fruit trees. We dumped a bunch of wood chips under the grape vines early this spring (Josh almost got the tractor stuck, but he was able to dig himself out with the bucket). Hopefully the area under the grapes and beneath the fruit trees will become a happy home for my allium allies.

The Italian garlic is curing in the carport on some wire racks. Lots of airflow. It’ll rest there for about 2 weeks, then I’ll be able to braid or otherwise process my beautiful, beautiful garlic.

I love garlic. I love **everything** about garlic.

And if you’re a TL:DR kind of person, I’ll give you Josh’s version of this post:

“Heather harvested 130 garlic bulbs this morning. It’s curing on racks in the carport. She planted different varieties of garlic in several spots on our property. The other varieties she planted aren’t ready to be harvested yet.” ☺️

The neighbor’s hay got cut on May 17, way earlier than usual. I wonder if there will be a second cutting this year.

The garden is mostly planted now. Transplanted: hops, kale, peppers, and tomatoes. Seeded: beans.

Grant’s garden is also started: Old Mother Stallard beans and a couple dozen watermelon seeds.

We transplanted a rhubarb plant on the north side of the house.

The cilantro that overwintered is blooming, so we should be able to harvest coriander seed soon. Heather checked a couple of garlic plants, and they have about four plump cloves per head. Hopefully by harvest time on June, they’ll have more cloves, but they’re looking great.

Karen the sheep was late to lose her winter coat this year. She still has a small patch on her back.

We had another cool, wet week after the hot day. The pear tree has just finished blooming, and the apple tree is in bloom.

We transplanted celery in the garden. It’s our first time trying to grow it. We also transplanted leeks.

We transplanted kale today on the south side of the house. We’ll see if it gets too dry this summer. “It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine,” Heather says just now.

I’m enjoying harvesting dandelions this year. We didn’t even have to plant them, and they’re one of the first harvests of the year.

Lots to catch up on:

The garden was later than usual this year but quite productive. We had days in the 80s into mid-October, so the harvest kept coming. I picked an ear of corn a day for dinner for about two months. Heather made lots of pasta/pizza sauce and salsa with the tomatoes and peppers, and salsa verde with the green tomatoes when the frost came. Heather planned a second crop of potatoes after harvesting the first, and she got a great second harvest.

Grant’s garden in the pasture was a huge success. He just covered the issue head with lots of wood chips during the winter, then planted in late spring. He had lots of corn and zinnias, and he was harvesting melons into early November.

The deer finally discovered our garden a few weeks ago. They’ve decimated some of the greens that we would like to harvest through the winter. I guess we’ll have to come up with some defenses.

Heather has planned a bunch of garlic, boy in the garden and next to the pasture. We’re going is not concerned by gophers again next year.

It looks like the commercial hazelnut harvest was good this year. They harvested the orchard behind us at the end of September and made a second round in mid-October just as the rain was coming.

We started using our woodstove in mid-October when weather abruptly turned from hot to rainy. (Then the rain went away again, but the cold stayed.) We have less than we would like for this winter, but it is enough to make a difference. Plus, when we get insulation installed upstairs in mid-December, we hope that will help a lot. We bought a catalyst for the woodstove, and we’re gradually learning how to use the stove efficiently. We should have plenty of wood for next year, though. A lot of it is pine, and I wish we had more hardwoods, but it’s all free, so we’ll take it. We have probably split and stacked about two cords so far, and we still have those big chunks of pine to cut and split.

Speaking of splitting: I’ll probably have to split the tractor again. The clutch is slipping, and I’m guessing one of the springs on the clutch may have broken.

Here’s our entire plum harvest for this year:

But the blackberries– wow! It’s a bumper year!

The pole beans are late but looking really lush:

It’s June 14th–not even summer yet–and we’re getting small, daily harvests. (Still no peas.)

Today I cut leaves off our lettuces. I love “cut and come again” types of lettuce. It means I can harvest as soon as a leaf is the size I want, then come back tomorrow to get another few leaves. Next year I’d love to try some different lettuces. Josh was all excited this year about planting lettuce, but I wasn’t. But now I am. Lettuce is an early win. You can harvest lettuce before almost anything else (except for overwintered crops). I guess I wasn’t too excited about lettuce back in February because we had so much kale and chard. Now that it’s gone, I’m so grateful for our little patch of tender greens.

We also harvested 5 beets. We eat the beetroot and the leaves. Beet leaves always look sickly and unappetizing, but they transform when they’re lightly steamed and tossed with butter. They turn a glossy, rich green.

I cut a few stalks of what I call our “grocery store green onions” because that’s what they were. Since planting the little stublettes from the bottom of the green onions last year, we have been harvesting non stop. Something that normally ends up in the trash has been a source of reliable flavor and color for well over a year now.

We also harvested our first real cutting of winter savory. Winter savory is an herb that I almost wrote off as just an old fashioned, outdated herb. You never see it in sexy poses on magazine covers. Winter savory never gets lead roles in Broadway musicals or even bit parts in made-for-TV-movies. I really don’t know why. Winter savory has got her act together. She grows upright, has a bright, fresh herbal scent, she’s easy to grow and she fits in with any recipe (never overpowering).

I love getting early spring harvests! The overwintered kale is about done– and getting aphids, so it’s time to pull it out–but the chard is super sweet and should keep going a bit longer… hopefully long enough to tide us over until this year’s planting starts to produce. I’m optimistic about the tatsoi.

Front the incubator, we ended up getting six ducklings. Turkeys are more fragile: some never made it out of their egg, and a couple died after hatching, but two have survived.

We applied about three yards of aged manure to the garden today. It’s still soggy out there, so we got the trailer stuck a couple times.

We’re still harvesting kale, but it looks like it’s going to start going to seed soon.