Beet Harvest

I pulled up the larger beets today, which was about half of them. We made a beet salad with goat cheese and arugula from an Ina Garten Recipe. It was not bad, but I’ve had better beet salads. We saved the leaves for future salads.

Beginnings of the Mint Garden

This was the beginning. I cut down all of the weeds, buckthorn, etc., and rototilled the best I could and got the cucumber trellises in and the cukes planted 0n June 21st.
This is after the installation of the first ring on June 24th. There are lots and lots of roots in the middle of the garden.
Semi-completed mint garden front view. June 25th.
Mint garden in progress, from the side.

I got started on the “Mint Garden” a couple of days ago. I bought four galvanized steel fire-rings from Tractor Supply on Wednesday to contain the mint. It required two trips, as I could only haul two at a time.

On Thursday, I got the first ring installed which was a real pain as I ran into a stump and roots from a maple tree that we removed about 4 years ago. I was able to cut through them with my trusty Ryobi reciprocating saw, but it was a lot of work. I planted it with sweet mint and planted the three clumps of ornamental grass to the east of the ring.

We had a lot of rain Thursday night and Friday morning, but I went out in the mud on Friday afternoon and got the second ring installed and planted two pots with trailing petunias that were 1/2 price at Goebbert’s. There were some roots, but they were old and I was able to cut through them with my shovel. I needed to add more soil to the ring but ran out of time and energy.

I am designing as I go. I’ll have a path through the garden and in front of the cucumbers with 16 X 16 pavers. Hauling those is going to be a pain. I am guessing it will take at least 3 or 4 trips to Home Depot to get them all. But I have two more rings to install first and rain in the forecast every day for the next week.

Finally, Rain!

We had a series of thunderstorms move through last night. I sat on the front porch and watched the first one roll through about 9:30 last night. The lightning bugs were also out in abundance and they didn’t seem to mind the rain.

I heard another heavy rain roll through as I was falling asleep later. I went out to check my rain gauge first thing this morning and noted that we had received 2.5 inches of rain overnight. We really needed it. There was a small tornado around Naperville and possibly others. We missed the winds as there were no branches down this morning.

First Tomato & Peppers

I picked the first tomato today, three days earlier than last year, and this was a Countryside Champion tomato from a garden plant rather than a container plant, like last year. The pepper was a Bounty banana pepper. There are also a couple of Gypsy peppers ready to pick. These were from the larger Countryside plants.

We also had a salad from garden lettuce. Goebbert’s Red Romaine and Bonnie plants Oak Leaf. They are all bolting in this heat, but the flavor is still good.

Cucumber Trellises Installed & Cucumbers Planted

I got up early on this Father’s Day morning and was out in the garden by 6:30. I installed the reinforcing fence posts behind the trellis and planted (from left to right) 1 trellis length of “Crystal Apple Cucumbers”, another trellis length of “True Lemon Cucumbers”, from Terroir Seeds, 5 “Burpless” plants from Goebbert’s on the 3rd Trellis and finally 3 “Summer Dance” plants from Countryside on the last trellis. I also cut up the elderberry, buckthorn and other invasive trees that I had removed on Saturday, and filled up the garden recycling bin. I had cleared and rototilled on Saturday.

San Marzano Tomatoes Planted

I caught a nasty cold the week after Memorial Day which kept me out of the garden for the better part of two weeks, except for watering. The energy and motivation has returned so I got out early and hit the rest of the Canadian Thistle with Roundup, mostly in the front, and weeded and string trimmed the back half of the garden, that is, everything but the three new raised beds. Then I planted the 15 San Marzano tomatoes and staked and watered them. We are in a severe drought with temperatures in the 90s. Severe thunderstorms are predicted for early to mid-afternoon and I am really praying for some much-needed rain. I finished up around 10 AM as the temperature had already hit the mid-eighties.

I need to plant Delicata squash and more zucchini, but the big thing this weekend will be to erect the new cucumber trellis and get the cukes planted. I’m at least a couple of weeks late on those. It is supposed to be a little cooler and less humid as we go into next week.

First Cherry Tomato!

I picked the first cherry tomato today! Hoping this will be the beginning of an endless supply. This is a couple of weeks earlier than last year. I picked some of the bolting Pak Choi last night and fried it up with onions and mushrooms. I should be able to get 1 more meal out of the rest. The Romaine is ready to pick, and the spinach has completely bolted. I’ll try some of the Oak Leaf lettuce and see if it is edible.

Fireflies!

Sitting on the front porch tonight I saw a few fireflies making their first appearance of the year. They are 10 days earlier than last year and about 15 days earlier than 2019. Not surprising, as we’ve had temperatures in the eighties for the past 4 or 5 days. We had a couple sprinkles of rain today but the predicted showers and thunderstorms missed us. It’s been a very dry spring. I guess watering is the first thing on my agenda tomorrow.