I wrote this on July 19th but forgot to hit post...
Summer here on Vancouver Island is usually warm. We normally have a week or two of (what I feel to be) super-duper hot temperatures followed by a few days of cool and rain. 2015 has given us another summer with a long dry hot spell… Last summer we had an entire month with no rain – this year we were almost up to two months by the time the high pressure system finally broke and we got a little bit of rain… and though we have now, finally, had some rain, things still are pretty dicey – people have actually prepared “go bags” so that if they have to evacuate their homes due to imminent risk of forest fire, they can grab their bag and, well, go. We have had two major forest fires as well as a number of smaller ones on the island this year – all of which can be attributed to humans.
Today I took advantage of a cooler morning and mowed my back yard. First time in two weeks, and though it hasn’t been watered at all this summer, it is still pretty lush and green. I seeded most of it with drought resistant seed and that has paid off in some nice green grass, even without the watering! I have been watering my veggies, though, and also some flower pots out front.
Today has been spent in some industry. Once the lawn was mowed, I hung out some laundry on the line and then proceeded to dig out my garlic bed. I stopped watering it about three weeks ago with the intention of digging it out last weekend – last weekend we got rain – lots and lots of rain – and so the garlic stayed in until this morning. All dug out, it is now hanging in my shed and starting its curing process. Once cured, I’ll cut off the tops and then store the bulbs until time to use them. Once the sun is down a little (and there is some shade in my back yard) I will get back out there and pull out the snow peas and then turn the soil in both of those beds. The bed that has the snow peas in it will be the home for next year’s garlic planting and the bed that had this year’s garlic will be the home for next year’s tomato plants… that bed, therefore, will be planted with fall rye so that I can give the soil a really good head start on adding nutrients.
My tomato plants are looking like they will be producing another bumper crop this year – I finally picked my first three cherry tomatoes this morning (I’ll toss them in with some pasta sauce) and the Health Kick are going to be starting to ripen soon as well. Having now pulled the last of the lettuce, I now have the space to get into the tomato bed and I can do some more reinforcement stake work. They will need it!
I also dug out all of my onions (that was a disappointing crop!) and they are also curing in the sun right now. The Multiplier Onions did well (and I will do them again) but the Walla Walla that I seeded gave a pretty poor crop – I will try again next year, but think I may need to do more research into soil amendments and growing conditions!
I am in the process of completing my fist canning of the year right now. The water bath canner is on the stove heating up and what I will be doing is some fresh rhubarb mixed with the last of last year’s frozen apple pieces and a small bag of last year’s left-over blueberries that I also located in the freezer. A little bit of sugar to round out the bite of the rhubarb and the fruit compote is in a pot waiting for the jars to sterilize. It is a little warm to be canning, but the fruit is there and ready, and I need to use it or lose it! I am shocked by this, but my rhubarb plant is still glorious and live – hasn’t gone to seed – and therefore the fruit on it is still viable for saving. The rest will go onto cookie sheet batches and into the freezer for fall pies and crisps. I LOVE rhubarb crisp, but more so in fall than spring!
I am thinking that, if my bean plants cooperate, I may try my hand at making dill pickled green beans – once my bean plants start to produce for me. The Scarlet Runner has blossoms now – and even a few little tiny beans have started to grow. The Italian heritage is still not flowering, but I understand that it may still be some time before I see any produce on that one.
With love across the waters…