Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rain Is Berry Berry Good for the Blues

Exactly one year ago I was down in Dorset picking a second bucket of lovely high bush Vermont blueberries. Today, Bop, A and I ventured down to Wildwood Berry Farm once again, and this year I picked two buckets of the biggest blueberries I have ever seen in less than 2 hours. There was a report of a bear sighting in the berry fields but we didn't spot any critters that big on this trip.

I'm finally done getting them ready for their winter stay the freezer, but here's a peek at half the haul I picked today:

Just picked blueberries from Wildwood Berry Farm

The red colander was filled to the brim before I dumped the washed berries onto the towel to dry and freeze. The blueberries are nearly the size of grapes - no exaggeration - because of all the rainy weather in Vermont in June, followed by a week of hotter-n-heck days and warm nights. 

Time to make some blueberry buckle, my favorite cake made with fresh blues.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Another wet summer brings more garden challenges

Last year our vegetable garden was so wet we battled slugs from July through November. This year we moved most of the garden except beans, kale and garlic to 3 raised beds in the front yard where last year we removed all the lawn and made new rock-supported terraces and bark mulch base.  We built 3 big new 4ft x 8 ft garden boxes from rough-sawn local hemlock 2 x 10s , then filled them with MooDoo and local organic soil mix. After planting with tomatoes and peppers and 3 squash plants, we surrounded the boxes with deer netting to keep out the deer, woodchucks, rabbits and chipmunks. For the most part the gardens were doing well despite more than 10 inches of rain from mid May to the first week of July.

July 8, Bekah's Tomato Garden

We outwitted early hatching squash/cucumber bugs by keeping those plants covered with netting until last week when the flowers appeared on our squash, cuke and pumpkin plants. This week the cucumber beetles arrived. From where I have no idea, but they sure found our garden - just after the weird tortoise beetles camped out on the tomato plants. We're handpicking both and so far, so good. The mystery squashes (we think they're butternut but it's too early to tell yet) Anya planted at her library story hour are starting to climb out of the box and clamber onto the trellis I built last year.

Squash plants growing like crazy
I think by the end of the summer if the bugs or the 4-footed critters don't get them the squash plants will be cascading over the trellis and rambling down to the lower garden below/behind, near that red bee balm that's now 5 feet tall.