We moved our garden from the side yard to our backyard this year. It is bigger and has more plants than in previous years. Most mornings, I grab my coffee and sit on the back porch just taking it all in. The garden is a safe place in the midst of a chaotic world. Things make sense in the garden. I spend time most mornings weeding and pruning and harvesting the fruits of our labor. It is like a treasure hunt every day.

Right to Left: Corn, Pumpkins, Cucumber, Zucchini, Carrots, Tomatoes, Herbs, Beans, Peas, Peppers, Sunflowers. We have raspberries in the back behind the corn and strawberries in the bottom right corner.

When you have an outdoor garden, you have to be prepared to share with small critters. The squirrels have eaten all the apples from our apple tree. I find random half eaten strawberries throughout the garden, discarded by mischievous chipmunks. The birds and beetles leave their marks as well. I don’t want to hurt the animals, but we do use Neem oil and some solar powered vibrating flowers to try to keep them at bay. We also usually plant a perimeter of castor beans to keep the digging animals away. We tried using the castor bean plants that popped up/ volunteered from last year, but they didn’t grow as well. Next year we will use seeds.

The pollinators are hard at work every morning.
The cucumbers were slow to take off this year, but are finally flowering and producing like crazy.
We are waiting for the tomatoes to ripen. We have 10 plants and almost all of them are heavy with green tomatoes.
We fought with the birds for the first few weeks. They kept plucking out the baby corn plants so they could eat the seeds. We managed to save about 75% of what we planted. The silks are popping out and we are dreaming of corn on the cob.
We’ve never planted sugar snap peas before. I’m learning these are a snack we munch on while in the garden. Not many actually make it into the house! I catch my little sugar snap pea thieves from time to time.
Mammoth Sunflowers. Amazing that they came from a tiny seed.
I periodically cut back the pumpkin vines and toss them on the compost pile. I only say compost pile to make myself sound homestead-ish. It is really just the pile where I dump chicken and rabbit poop. These pumpkin vines seem to have taken root. I’m hoping to see something amazing come of it.

We’ve made zucchini bread and pesto and pickles. I’m able to begin preserving some of our garden bounty. I blanch and freeze green beans and peas. I shred zucchini and freeze it in 2 cup servings… perfect for zucchini bread!

Do you have a garden? Visit a farmer’s market regularly? What’s are you favorite things to grow or buy?

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