Garden update

We’ve been hearing a toad singing next to the pond for days. Apparently he finally found someone to serenade. Between Lazarus’ appetite and the fast-moving current, I’m not sure our amphibious friends have found an ideal location to raise tadpoles, but I wish them the best of luck.

When I left for my trip in mid-May, all I had were sprouts and a few small tomato plants. I came home to find a garden. Here are a few images from our now-thriving backyard:

You can’t tell from the picture, but our grape tomato plant is loaded with tiny green tomatoes, and the squash plants along the fence are covered with baby zucchini and spaghetti squash.

Blackberries are ripening slowly on the brambles behind the fence. We covered most of them with bird netting yesterday to keep out winged bandits.

A poorly-designed dog food dispenser became a handy container garden for herbs: chives, parsley, basil, dill, and sage.

The girls are thriving, obviously. We added that top super last week after noticing an unusually large number of bees hanging around outside the hive because of overcrowded conditions inside. One more super, and then we’ll have to think about dividing the colony, which will be a new adventure for us. We went out this morning and installed new hive bodies on the hives at Nuyaka and Living Kitchen. I got to play with baby goats at Living Kitchen. I should have brought the camera along, but I wasn’t thinking clearly because I’d gotten a little too hot in my bee suit. Lisa and Bibi gave us some more goat milk and a bag of arugula to take home. I’m going to pick up a few odds and ends at Center One Market and make a big salad with the arugula and some of my herbs.

Earthworms are a sign of healthy soil. This nightcrawler was one of many I discovered while weeding my herb bed.

Sunflowers are growing quickly behind the back fence.

This is about as good as the pond has looked since I put it in. The little fences are to keep the dogs away from some peppers we planted out there. The plants on the surface of the pond are water lettuce and water lilies. That’s okra growing in the pots next to the pond.

Notice how clear the water is. I’ve been fighting algae bloom ever since we took out the boxelder that shaded the pond. Between the recent heavy rains and the rapid growth of the water lettuce — which is creating shade for the pond, thus inhibiting algae growth — the water has cleared up nicely. I think the current filter is a little more effective at removing algae than the old one was, too. Hopefully this will represent a permanent resolution to the problem.

Here are some of the container plants we’re growing on the patio. The big pot at the end contains cilantro — which just came up as a volunteer plant — and beans, which have pulled down one of the cilantro plants. I need to put a stake in there to support both.

Hope your garden is growing as well as ours.