Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's Growing - July 2017

We have consciously cut back on the size of the garden this year.   Because we are getting older and becoming unable to take the heat in the summer, we decided to limit most of our gardening to the spring and fall.  Except for growing a few tomatoes, peppers and corn for ourselves and family, our farmers' market garden is small this summer.  

I have pretty much limited my gardening activities to a small patch between a couple of our outbuildings.  It is close to the house and easy to water.  My intention is to use it mostly for perennial crops, such as elderberries, strawberries, raspberries, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus, along with some herbs and things that the deer like to eat.  Here's what's growing.

Leaf fennel.  

It has beautiful flowers and attracts Black Swallow-tail butterflies.  In the fall I harvest fennel seeds which make wonderful tea and pastries.

I enjoy having some flowers, as well.  Here are zinnias that came up volunteer from  the six plants that I raised from seed and planted last year.

 Chaste Trees provide beautiful flowers that provide good food for bees.

The elderberry bushes we planted in 2016 are doing well.  We harvested our first fruit from them last week.  Yesterday, I started some elderberry elixir brewing.  It will take 6-8 weeks.  With the rest of the harvest, I plan to make jelly.

Okra is a favorite food of deer.  It is squeezed between the elderberries and asparagus patch, both of which are very tall.  So far, the deer have either not found the okra or are hesitant to go into such a confined place that is so close to human occupation.  At any rate, they have not bothered it.

We obtained these raspberries from a friend earlier this year.  So far, they are going great and I believe they are going to like it here.

Tansy was used in medieval times for medical purposes. I don't know how well it works as medicine but it seems to work great as an insect repellent.  It has lovely, button-shaped flowers, but it has a camphor-like smell.  My mother-in-law used to hang a bunch of it above her garbage can on her back porch. She swore that it kept flies away and I have to admit that I never saw any flies around her trash can!