In the Thyme Garden

In August, the garden is at the height of its glory. I don’t know where the time goes! We have thyme everywhere; in the sidewalks, in pots. We grow mint on purpose; before the rain came, you could usually see at least a thousand bees in among the mint flowers.

We grow corn and lots of tomatoes. Low turnips, planted next to the corn, with some sunflowers in between. The sunflowers are the kind that just come up – amazing volunteers, almost eight feet tall – all that from one seed! We leave them standing in the winter, for birds to forage. Near them, kale, leeks and onions. Feathery tops of carrots. Celery, more tomatoes, chard. The blue star blossoms are borage, another bee magnet, also good for repelling bugs in the garden and supposed to make your tomatoes tastier, plus delicious as raw greens, or in soups. There’s still one asparagus standing: the far eastern bed is an asparagus bed in the spring. Purple string beans: a lot of people think it’s magic when I cook them and they turn green!

I attribute the incredible growth you see here to nutrient-density fertilizer, and the work we do with compost. Ever since we started this system of enrichment, the garden has turned around, and gets better every year. We spend a lot of time here, but we don’t dig up our garden as much; we like to just let it knit together. With this nutrient-density fertilizer, the soil becomes like an organism, with enzymes that enable plants to take up nutrition more easily, and make a healthier plant. We dig it in a little when we’re digging up the row for seeds, but we more or less put it on with water: what you’d call a drench. You could put it on just as well at the end of the season, and let the snow soak it in. It’s mostly minerals, and mycorrhizal fungi, which definitely helps everything, even the seeds. It’s a whole new system, and just wonderful. I say, if you’re going to spend the time in your garden, you might as well get a lot back!

I’ve been preserving – freezing, canning, jamming. We’ve made dilly beans, cucumber pickles, frozen beans; we serve beans in our Bed & Breakfast all the time. We serve zucchini pancakes, zucchini fritters, zucchini bread and muffins. We have chilled cucumber-mint soup. Everything we have, we want people to taste and enjoy. My husband loves the food! He’s been gaining weight on vegetables, which is hard to believe, but I think it’s good nutrition — good weight, and health.

The corn ripens at the end of August, and the grapes! They got their trellis in the spring, and now they are very happy! One side of the “aisle” is champagne grapes, and the other side is concord grapes. This is the second year for grapes; last year, we didn’t get many. Not sure what we did wrong, but we think we started pruning too late. There was just too much leafy shade: that’s why we’re pruning the vine now. Look underneath the trellis: lots of hanging grapes. We keep our eyes on them – the cows love them, and would eat them all if we didn’t keep a current hot in the electric fence. We’re going to be making jam. And soda: we make our own soda water with a siphon and half grape juice, and it’s delicious!

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