Here’s my lame excuse: We’ve been so busy! I know that’s true for just about everyone these days, but will nonetheless take the next several paragraphs to demonstrate just how busy this summer has been. It has literally been three months since a blog post went up, and I am certain I have missed the best part of growing season because of ‘being busy’.
Way back when, in June, the garden was looking pretty excellent. I had this detailed plan of what crop would be planted in each row, and by when it must be harvested in order to replant the next crop. Sometime around the beginning of July, I realized that I hadn’t looked in at my lovely plan in over a month. Another crucial happening between June and July: it was hotter than Hades and we were dipping into drought territory! While there were things to harvest and take to market, the unbearable heat and dry weather made germinating the next crop impossible. Even if we could have watered enough to get a few seeds to sprout, the 100+ days would have cooked the little sprouts where they lay, sort of like a stir-fry.
The bees managed to hang in there, slurping up little drags of moisture from the garden and anywhere else we watered intermittently. Somehow, they have maintained productive hives this season, and we have harvested twice this summer. I discovered that bees don’t like the repeated sweltering days anymore than I do. Hot and bothered doesn’t begin to describe how they felt about me intruding one hot, hot week in June. My mom and I both got stung that go round, and learned best to wait until the temperatures are in the 80′s to go peeking in on the bees. The first harvest had a distinctly minty flavor to it, and the second a more neutral, light ‘honey’ flavor. We have done some hive inspections in the past week and dismantled the one hive that had become infested with wax moths. It was to be sure, a lesson in ‘problems that don’t age well’. We had discovered the wax moths several months earlier, but didn’t quite know what to do about it so closed the hive back up with the intent to go back shortly and address the problem. You should be glad I don’t have pictures of this one- wax moth worms are very squirmy and very gross.
Outside of Fox Plot vegetables and Harmon Honey, we have spent considerable time house-hunting, having a wedding, getting ready for ‘Elmer’ to be delivered by a stork, and well, working our day jobs. The wedding was fantastic, with only a handful of things gone wrong, of which hardly a soul noticed. (Erm, only two astute observers pointed out to me that I put the ring on the wrong hand). My favorite part was having so many dear, dear people gathered together, and my least favorite part was that the day flew by in fast forward and I kept hoping to find the pause button to just enjoy a few more minutes. Fly boy looked so dashing in his new suit, and we did not recess down the aisle in conventional fashion after the ceremony, but took off pedaling on the tandem. No one’s fancy clothes got stuck in moving bike parts and I didn’t fall off! There was much eating, drinking, and dancing until our toes couldn’t take it any more. It was all in all, one of my favorite days ever.
Nonetheless, the garden still manages to produce, though I’ve had to take a temporary hiatus from the farmers’ market until next season. In celebration of the nuptials, the Fox Plot received a hand crafted Whiz Bang garden cart. Complete with the Conestoga option and deployable back legs, I predict this cart will change gardening (and beekeeping!) as we know it.
We did plant a few fall things- mostly lettuces and cabbages. There are still starts to transplant, but at this point, it might be too late. The late planted tomatoes are in full productions- all 80 plants of 28 varieties! I have been picking every three to four days, and have been putting them up in every possible way I can think of. I’ve sliced, dried, roasted, blanched, peeled, stewed, simmered, and strained tomatoes this weekend.
Unfortunately, I am not yet close to done as there are still two bins of tomatoes in my kitchen and I need to pick again today!