Plenty of rain and heat most of the summer has made our vegetable garden lush. Asparagus, radishes, sugar snap peas, and salad greens grew well in the cool, damp spring before June heated up. while zucchini, beans, and tomatoes required almost daily picking. All the cucumber vines withered and the cocozelle haven’t been as prolific as zucchini we’ve grown in other years, but beans and cherry tomatoes make up the difference.
Five or six years ago we added a second, larger garden, 25′ on a side. The two combined aren’t as big as our South Dakota garden, but amply feed the two of us. We made raised beds by spreading good soil over our rocky ground and we erected a 4′ fence to keep critters at bay. Deer can get jump the fence but don’t, except in the winter, oddly enough. Rabbits can and do get through the wire despite reinforcement. Groundhogs didn’t bother to try . . . until the past month. A young groundhog got in when a visitor left the gate open. Having tasted beet and carrot tops, the critter returned day after day despite our having closed the gate. It burrowed under the fence, digging further and further long the garden perimeter as Jay reinforced each area with wood and slate. Within a few days the woodchuck had stripped the pole beans of all leaves up to about 18″ from the ground. Jay has repaired the fence line and sprayed animal repellant but the voracious creature remains one step ahead of him. Now we have a live-catch trap in the garden but so far the peanut butter-slathered apple bait has not enticed the groundhog inside. Who will win this battle of wits and stomachs???
There’s no better hour of the day than the one spent picking the garden. Except for when we sit down to the table with fresh vegetables, raw, grilled, or steamed or sauteed. Summer is so good.