This has been a crazy summer, so far, with lots of work everywhere -- office, house and garden. With such a mild winter and hot summer like temperature since May, garden is growing crazily, both weed and non-weed stuff. And that has increased the workload ten-fold. Usually, I harvest, wash, clean, cut, chop,pickle starting mid-August. But this year it has started since mid-June. Also, when plants start to producing fruits, that means I need to take more care of them -- do they need fertilize? It has not rained for the last three days, do they need water? Do they need more mulch? Any tying, clipping needs to be done? Do I need to de-weed around the base of the plant? And the list continues. But, these are all fun work. In fact, I can spend my whole day working in the garden, without complaint. And, I don't like working in the office and/or home and would always complaint :-). Here are few of the harvest (though most are in our stomach; I forget to take pictures most of the time).
|I'm very proud of this onion. It's the largest onion I've grown so far. It's the size of my palm.|
|I'm making fermented vegetables -- kimchi, fermented carrots and so on. This is my first time doing fermented products and it's really fun, especially when you see all the bubbles released by the bacteria :-)|
|These are all hot peppers -- some are extremely hot; some very hot; while others are medium hot. I'm growing 7-8 different varieties of hot peppers this year. I'm going to use many of them to make spicy Indian style hot pepper pickles.|
|A bunch of grapes. Lots and lots of such branches are hanging in the plants and cat-birds are having a field-day eating them :-)|
|Triple-Crown Blackberry plants that I planted this year. They have started to grow.|
The flowers are also in bloom and the bumble bees are buzzing around. I also see lots of other tiny bees and the large carpenter bees. Butterflies are also fluttering around but too difficult to capture their pictures. As I get ready with the camera, they fly away. Unfortunately, I only saw one honey bee so far. Population of honey-bees in my locality has drastically dropped in the last 3-4 years. When I first started gardening in 2011, I could not go near any flowers as they were covered with honey-bees. But, alas, they have vanished now. However, I see lots of different types of wasps and moths (during the night). Wasps are very good for garden as they not only pollinate but they also feed on the bad insects.
|A type of native cone-flowers. Please do not dead-head them after they have stopped flowering. The dead flowers contain lots of seeds and those are the foods for the birds, rabbits, squirrels during the winter month|
|My Smiling-Sunflower. One of the benefits of providing food to birds during winter is all these sunflower plants. I don't have to plant them. The birds spread seeds and I have sunflowers growing everywhere. I just love sunflowers.|
|Edible day-lily. These flowers are considered delicacy in China. You pick them up and fry them in a batter. I did it once and they do taste nice. But I have so many other vegetables that I leave these flowers for wild animals only.|
|A native fleabane. It's considered weeds by almost everyone. But, I love these tiny daisy like flowers.|
|More cone-flowers along with bee-balms|
Last but not the least -- one of my all time companions who is always there to protect me.