The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Spring becomes summer

Young pear leaves

Except for last weekend's Dogwood Winter, we seem to have skipped right over spring and moved on to summer.  The pollinator haze on the peach is starting to die down as the flowers pass their prime and leaves pop out.  Our other fruit trees --- like this pear --- are following suit.

Rabbiteye blueberry flower buds

The blueberry bushes are coated in flower buds, and I keep having to remind myself not to count my berries until the frost free date.  I considered rabbiteye blueberries an experiment here in zone 6, but they seem to be happy and healthy.  We only lost one --- the large, older plant my friends threw into the order so that Mark and I would get to sample blueberries the first year.  The loss is a handy reminder that older woody plants tend to transplant badly and often do worse than a youngster of the same species.

Despite all of the promise, the beginning of summer brings trials and tribulations.  This year's abnormally hot, dry spring led to low germination rates in my spinach and swiss chard, and I can't seem to find a single onion seedling.  I know that I should just plant some onion sets, but sets don't produce good storage onions (and cost so much that it's barely worth your while to grow them.)  Instead, I'm going to be nutty and replant the onion seeds in a shady corner, hoping for a miracle.

Skinny asparagus spear

Our asparagus also breaks my heart.  Last year's asparagus beetle infestation killed back the fronds by early summer, and the spears now poking up out of the ground are far thinner than they should be as three year old plants.  The calendar says that we should be able to eat asparagus this year, but I suspect the right thing to do is give the plants another year to recover...assuming I can keep the asparagus beetles at bay.  I've already squashed a few and had better come up with a solution fast!

Comfrey mulch

But the rest of the garden is growing like gangbusters.  I meant to go back and add some mulch under the nectarine, but the comfrey has done that for me.

Sprinkler behind Egyptian onions

Of course, the real clue that it's summer came when I turned on the sprinklers.  I should have done that two weeks ago --- it might have saved my seed onions!

Our homemade chicken waterer really shines in the summer when your chickens most need water.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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