Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Picking Raspberries

Lily got to visit her pal, Zoe, on Bainbridge Island this past weekend. We climbed a tree into an awesome tree house, played with a cat and two dogs, and camped out overnight in their yard.

Zoe, her mom and dad live on a beautiful piece of land with a huge vegetable garden that had me drooling. There was lettuce galore, Swiss chard, several kinds of squash, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, corn, blueberries, rhubarb, and more. The best part was watching Lily pick her first ripe raspberries. I think she'd still be there if we hadn't pulled her away.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zucchini on Acid

Seriously our zucchini plants are growing like they're on drugs or something, doubling in size overnight, every night. It's not even July yet and already we have two zucchini blossoms and many more on the way. I've never had zucchini ready to eat in June before from my own garden. Apparently it likes the soil and all the sun it's getting in the front yard.

Every year at the end of the summer I rip out the gargantuan zucchini plants and tell myself I'm not going to grow it the next year. By August I've had enough zucchini to last me forEVER. Those of you who grow zucchini know what I'm talking about. It produces a lot, quickly, and I can never seem to keep up no matter how many ways we fix it. And believe me there are tons of ways to fix zucchini. My favorite is sliced and grilled with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt. "Myum-yum!" as Lily says.

"Zucchini", one of Lily's favorite poems to read over and over again, is from her picture book, Busy in the Garden, (by George Shannon, pictures by Sam Williams.) It begins, "Zucchini meeny miney moe," proceeds to list many of the ways zucchini can be fixed, (it's a long poem,) and ends with "Zucchini meeny miney MOAN." No kidding!

But it's only the beginning of summer and I always get suckered back into growing it, especially this summer since it's been abnormally warm and sunny. Plus it's an easy vegetable to grow with great results, just the thing I would love for Lily to see and be amazed by, hopefully.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rain and Slugs

Well, the rains came finally. I think we had a record of over twenty days without rain. Twenty days in June, in Everett, without rain...it was awesome! But of course we need the rain, badly so I'm trying not to complain. Plus I love the way the garden smells in the rain. Our old rose shrub, the lemon verbena, even the grass and the dirt, yes, garden dirt in the rain, what a wonderful scent.

It's also nice not to have to water everything. It lets me take a step back and observe more than I do when I'm constantly worried if I watered all the newly planted seeds enough, or gave my zucchini and tomato plants that long deep drink they crave.

And there is so much to observe. The radishes were a huge disappointment and I think it's because I didn't thin them enough. The green leafy parts grew huge and tall and the radishes themselves hardly grew at all. I need to get over my aversion to thinning. I guess it's sort of like editing my writing, I have to remember that always, always, always my writing is better when I revise and cut away unnecessary words, paragraphs and sometimes entire pages. Pulling out newly growing sprouts just feels wrong to me, even though I know it's necessary.

The snap peas are doing awesome, so is the kale, although I think I planted the green onions too close to the kale because they seem to be buried under the broad, fast-growing kale leaves. I planted more beet seeds this weekend because half of the first batch I planted did nothing, not sure what happened there, but the tomatoes and zucchini are doing awesome in the front yard with all the sun they've been getting.

As much as I love and crave the sun, I love the rain too. It puts such an intense infused look on the world, colors appear deeper, scents hover and permeate, everything looks richer. However, there is one thing I hate about the rain here in the Pacific Northwest, and yes I mean hate. Slugs. Rain invites slugs, and boy do they come. Obese, slimy, gorging-on-our-plants slugs. It's like they appear out of nowhere with appetites ten times their size. Do they even have teeth, I mean how can they devour a lily or dahlia or pea sprout so damn fast?!

I've learned a few techniques--all of them gross--to deal with them, from drowning them in beer to spreading coffee grounds around the plants, but every year they still manage to win a few battles. This past weekend, to my horror, Lily actually found one, picked it up, squished it between her fingers and tried to eat it in the span of about three seconds. YUCK! Oh the things she like to put in her mouth!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lilies in Bloom

We have lots of lilies growing in the garden. I planted some Stargazer lilies that the slugs got to this year when they first poked through the dirt, so I'm not sure they're going to make it. GramS sent us a Stargazer lily last year for Lily which will hopefully bloom soon. And the side yard is full of orange day lilies that were here when we bought the house. But the first one of the season to bloom is a beautiful yellow one called a Bright Pixie, from our neighbors Andy and Mary Ann for Lily's birth last year.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strawberry Season

Lily picked her first strawberries from our garden this week. It was probably the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life. Unfortunately I only bought four plants this year so right now there's only about one ripe strawberry per day, and she wants more! I think we're also creating a food snob here. She ate the garden strawberry and loved it; then we came inside and gave her some store-bought ones for breakfast and she tossed them over the side of her high chair.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lily's Friends

Lily had visits from two of her pals this week. Her flower friend, Violet came up to picnic and play in the grass, and it was a gorgeous day. The girls are hilarious together; they look like little old women complaining to each other. We haven't seen Violet in a while and she's growing just as fast as Lily. I feel like I blink and they've grown, or like they secretly grow at superspeed overnight, like spinach and zucchini.

Our friends Shannin and Jason came over from Bainbridge with their daughter, Zoe, who is also growing like crazy, which is awesome to see because she was born with CDH, (congenital diaphragmatic hernia) and has major health challenges to overcome. Her name means Life which I think is just perfect because she's one tough survivor.

We also have some fun news about Lily's pal, Molly and her mom and dad, they just moved into a house a couple of blocks away from us. They're neighbors, Yeah!!!

Hopefully I'll have more pictures to show of all the girls as the summer goes on. Lily changes so much every day I can hardly keep up.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fun with the Garden Hose

We had such a gorgeous, hot week here that we had to actually water the plants. Often, at this time of year in Everett, with enough mulch and compost I can get away with watering the veggies once or twice a week. And the perennials survive on near complete neglect. Not so this past week. On Thursday I watched our new young hydrangea go from thriving and blooming to one big sagging heap in less than an hour. All the blooms withered and weeping. So I drowned it and then repeated the drowning two more times on Friday and thankfully it sprang back to life.

I let Lily play with the hose too; she loves it. Loves to water the sidewalk and herself, and she loves to try to catch the water in her hand. I put some flower pots near her to see if she would water them, and she did, too funny!! I bought her her own little watering can, but she's not too keen on that yet; she just dumps all the water out and walks away from it, but the hose is her new favorite. Apparently she's also good at deadheading.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's Growing?

We've been having tons of sun and hot days lately. It's awesome! The yellow-orangy ceramic sun in the raised beds is from Lily's uncle Kevin. It's radiating behind some snap peas, lettuce and kale. In between the kale we have green onions and carrots. The spinach is almost done, but new things are coming up every day, radishes, strawberries, beets, cilantro, parsley and more! Yeah sunshine!