Silly question really. A good deal of time has been spent in the garden and on my bike. Then there is working to pay the bills, eating, and sleeping. Everything else gets squeezed in wherever it can, which sometimes means not at all.

The garden is going gangbusters right now; it’s a veritable jungle out there! Yesterday I finished picking all the red and black currants and the gooseberries. There isn’t enough of each one on its own to do anything with–my bushes are still small—but there is enough all together to make, perhaps, a pint of jam.

The green beans are doing great. I am growing a new to me bush variety this year called Strike bush bean. It’s a stringless green bean, and are they ever good! They are mild and crunchy, not chewy. The plants grow well, though they flop over. I have never had a green bean that hasn’t flopped. But they are prolific and don’t seem to mind the heat and humidity. I am letting a couple of the nicer plants go to seed so I can plant them next year. It’s hard to let the nicest beans go for seed, but it’s the only way to end up with good, strong plants that do well in my garden.

The pumpkins are doing well. Every day I have to gently redirect their vines so they don’t end up getting trampled on. I’ve got pie pumpkins going in the main garden and a monster pepita variety called Lady Godiva going in the chicken garden. The leaves on this thing are bigger than dinner plates! Year before last I had grown a different variety of pepita pumpkin and the vine was short and well behaved. So it seemed a good option to grow up a frame in the chicken garden. We built a frame from scrap wood and mesh, planted a couple seeds, and kept them covered with row cover fabric so the chickens wouldn’t eat the sprouts or dig up the seeds. Lady Godiva has turned out to not be short or well behaved! As soon as the plants started vining, they climbed the frame in two days! I keep waiting to walk out one morning to release the Dashwoods to find the vines have covered the coop.

Lady Godiva pumpkin vines

The frame is covered over in vines and the Dashwoods love hanging out in their shade. The vines that are now stretching across their garden are pretty much ignored. The leaves aren’t tasty and the pumpkins that are growing on them have thick rinds and are of no interest either. Unlike the runner beans I tried to also grow in their garden. They figured out how to get under the protecting fabric and mowed them all down. Gardening with piranha, I mean chickens, is always an adventure!

I’ve got zucchini going too. I decided to try a different variety this year, Cochelle. I didn’t have great germination and the plants that did sprout have been slow to get going and not all that prolific. The squash tastes good, but I am not impressed. I think next year I will go back to Black Beauty, the variety I have been growing successfully for years. This year I thought a different variety would be nice, but if it’s not broken, don’t fix it as the saying goes.

I am still sad about taking out the honeycrisp apple tree, but I am glad we did. It truly was a Japanese beetle magnet. There have hardly been any in the garden this year at all. What a relief it has been to not spend an hour ever single night picking beetles off the apple tree and everything else in the garden! Instead of a big bowl every day, I pick off maybe dozen from a few places around the garden ever couple of days. The Dashwoods loved the huge bowls of beetles and have been very disappointed when I pour out so few for them. It’s a win for me and the garden though so I will bear the Dashwoods’ disappointment gladly.

It feels like the summer is almost over, but there is still a lot of growing and gardening left to the season.