June Recap

lettuce
apple-walnut-blue cheese salad

It’s been a mild summer so far. Only the spinach has bolted, and I didn’t bother growing arugula this year or it would have bolted by now too. I typically have awful luck growing greens, but my lettuces have been doing well in their partially shady location, so we’ve been eating lots of salad. I usually top it with cut up apple, blue cheese, walnuts or roasted flax and a quick, homemade vinaigrette. This is my go-to recipe for salad lately, and it always hits the spot.

2018 garden
2018 garden
2018 garden

We put a lot of effort into our garden design this year. We had a dead tree removed from our backyard in February, which opened space for us to rearrange and add to our existing setup. All in all, we added five new raised beds, a cold frame, a corner for herbs, space for my 25-pound grow bags (for potatoes) and some room for more seating. I planted my little container-bound fig tree last week, and I’m hoping it fares better than the old dead poplar. It already seems more cheerful.

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: After

Kitchen: After

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: After

Kitchen: After

This past week has been unexpectedly busy for us. We decided to sneak in a kitchen makeover while the summer was still young, which is something I’ve been looking forward to since we first moved into this house six years ago. My husband took a few days off work to build a new wood counter, paint the cupboards and put up tile backsplash. It’s amazing how transformative this little kitchen overhaul has been. A once dark and dingy space now feels bright and clean, despite the tiny east-facing window that lets in limited natural light. As someone who is very much affected by my atmosphere, I feel so much more inspired to work in the kitchen now, which is perfect timing as we enter the harvest season. I’ll be spending a good chunk of my time pickling, freezing, cooking, baking, drying, natural dyeing...

bachelor's buttons
marigolds

Lastly, I planted several flower varieties for my dye garden this year, and some are just now starting to bloom. I’ve got bachelor’s buttons, marigolds and dahlias blooming right now, and I’m seriously kicking myself for getting such a late start on the zinnias and cosmos this year. They’ll come up in due time I suppose. I plan on drying/freezing as many of the blooms as I can, and possibly pressing some between book pages to make little flower-pressed cards for customers who buy my naturally dyed yarns as well. I’ve been wanting to try that for ages.

The Year of the Tomato

We went a little crazy with the food preservation this year. Jams and fruit butters of all kinds, dilly beans, tomatoes (and more tomatoes, and more tomatoes). Our chest freezer is now so full of garden food that we have to stack a box on top to keep the lid down. Lets hope the power never goes out.

Next year, I will definitely plant potatoes. I've been missing those homegrown purple potatoes we grew in our first garden back in 2009. Carrots, too. We forgot to plant carrots this year, and I'm beating myself up about it a little because the babe is now old enough to eat solids, and pureed carrots from the garden would've been perfect.

In any case, there's always next year. We have officially reclaimed some of our tiny backyard from the hens by setting up an outside run, so we'll be able to grow even more food (and flowers!) next year without fear of mass chicken destruction.

How did your garden grow this year? Anything you would do differently next year?