May is the true beginning of summer for us. April teases us every year with a week of 90 degree weather, but it has chilly nights more often than not. In May, the warm weather begins in earnest, and any rain we get will be a huge bonus. I hear a little voice in my head saying 'hurry! hurry!' even though my body says it's too warm and it wants a nap.
Yep, it's truly time to tear out the remains of the winter garden and get the summer crops in.
Cue the whirlwind of activity. My wheelbarrow was in heavy rotation this weekend, not to mention my trusty shovel and rake.
Luckily we had transplanted all the tomatoes and peppers last weekend, a huge job. So this weekend I focused on seeding corn, basil, sunflowers, watermelon, cantaloupe, collards, orach, edamame, and pole beans. Sometime this week I need to get the cucumbers in the ground; I just ran out of time. Besides, there's so much spinach left in that bed, and I want to eat as much of it as we can before I pull it out.
I added bars to the bee hive because the bees are going crazy with the spring nectar flow and I don't want them to run out of room. I transplanted fennel (I've never tried that before, we'll see if it takes) and noticed that the rhubarb is coming up.
I also ate my first blueberry off one of our bushes. SO SWEET.
Tom went to the farmers market and bought five more pounds of organic strawberries, since in our yard we never have more than a handful to eat at any one time. He made more jam. I've already given away 8 of the jars he made two weeks ago (teacher appreciation!). We're also eating it every day on toast. Homemade toast from our home baked sourdough, which also had to be made this weekend.
The pump in our ten-year-old water feature died, so Tom also spent a good deal of time digging the whole operation out, cleaning everything, making several trips to the hardware store, etc. As he was siphoning out the old water to the asparagus patch, a goldfinch came by to drink from the hose. The birds miss their bubbler. Tomorrow we can fill it back up. Ten years is a long time for a rinky-dink pump, so I'd say we got lucky not having to do it before now.
I saw some interesting things in the garden as I was working. Check this guy out:
This is a damselfly, probably a male, of the genus American Bluet. Isn't it gorgeous? He was maybe two inches long, quite small, perching on some sage (salvia clevelandii). These guys like water, so I'm not sure what he was doing in our yard. We do have creeks fairly close by, so maybe he just took a detour.
The California Carpenter bees are out in full force, with their huge, loud, 747-like buzzing.
I also saw that we have one small cherry. One! Wonder if we can get to it before the birds or squirrels. I'm going to have to be wily.
The hops are growing about six inches a day. I took this picture so you can see how tall they are getting. We need the shade over our patio table, so it's good that they're growing quickly. The trick is to water them nearly every day; I didn't realize how thirsty they'd be. Sorry for the mess in this picture, but it was a busy weekend. At least you know I'm not staging things for you.
Hops are interesting in that they are not a vine, but a bine. There's a difference. A vine, such as clematis, will send out tendrils to curl around whatever they are climbing on. A bine, like hops, will just wind itself around the climbing material.
So - summer. Phew. And even if you're in an extreme Northern climate, it's spring now for you, so we're all busy. I'm guessing your shoulders ache like mine tonight, and your hands have wheelbarrow callouses too. Pretty much bliss, right? Happy planting!