End of Summer

We went about three weeks without rain and temperatures pushing 90 nearly every here, but the vegetable portion of the garden continues to be productive.

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While we still have some hot days ahead, I feel like things are starting to slow down a bit. That could be due to my own thinking starting to shift and look forward to fall.

One of my goals is to plant things that flower at different times to that something is always in bloom in the garden to attract bees and other beneficial insects. Right now my first bee balm is in flower.

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As are these blue globe flowers — I can’t recall what their proper name is, but I planted them last fall and they survived the winter.

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My garden is literally crawling with these increasingly large spiders. They are extremely creepy and extremely beneficial, so I have a complicated relationship with them.

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In my last post I think I said I was out of projects for a while, but you can’t keep a good man down. I had always planned on building an arbor for my grape trees, but figured it wouldn’t need one for the first year. And it probably doesn’t, but I was bored, so I built an arbor.

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It creates a nice entry into the garden, and I can also utilise it for climbing annuals like kabocha and cucumber.

I have another grape tree that wasn’t doing as well, so I was pretty sure I definitely didn’t need an arbor for that one this year. But after I chopped down some corn stalks and old kabocha vines that were hindering the grape’s sunlight it started doing much better. And well…mine as well build another grape arbor. I may need to reinforce these arbors at some point — remember I have zero carpentry knowledge. But they are sturdy enough for the time being.

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My summer vacation is coming to a close, which is just as well because I’ve been eating and drinking like I’m the king of Kanazawa for a few weeks now. Even my vigorous weight lifting and running routine is no match for this lavish lifestyle!

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A Beautiful Mess

The rainy season has ended here and we’ve moved into the hot, sticky days of August. I’m getting lots of cukes, tomatoes, and green peppers, along with bowls full of blackberries and blueberries and a smattering of eggplant and okra. Kabocha pumpkins are just about ready, as are red peppers and a second batch of corn.

Non-edible plants are also doing their thing, and several of my guilds are really taking shape. They can look a bit chaotic, but it’s pleasing to think each plant serves a purpose (more than one hopefully). It’s awesome to see things I planted last year start to mature and fill in the bare ground.

Here’s the guild with the acacia tree at the center, which has gotten massive this year. Around the acacia are comfrey, yarrow, cherry, artichoke, raspberry, currant, chamomile, echinacea, mint, Juneberry, asparagus, garlic chives, sage, creeping time, oregano, rosemary, and red valerien (which is actually white). Wow, writing it down makes me realize how much I have jammed into a smallish space, and there’s still some room to spare. All of the non-edible plants, and some of the edible ones, are improving soil, attracting beneficial insects, and deterring problematic insects — at least that’s the theory.

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This guild still needs a little work, but it’s coming along. It has a biwa (loquat) at it’s center and a gumi bush for nitrogen fixation. There are also chives, rosemary, turmeric, yarrow, raspberry, currant, comfrey, hairy vetch, sage, hissop, and lemon balm.

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In the front of the garden is this guild, which is also nearly full. It has pear and pomegranate trees, a bill berry bush, creeping time, yarrow, and comfrey. I’d like to get a few more species in there next year.

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I’m in a lull at the moment with projects, but a few weeks ago I built a fire pit. My tired old drum grill had finally given in to two years of exposure to the elements, and I’d been thinking of a fire pit for a while now.

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I collected rocks down at the beach, and one big one from the forest.

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So that’s all the garden news. Hope everyone’s enjoying these hot summer days!