Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

This picture pretty much says it all. Cute kid in white shirt plus purple berries freshly picked. Yes, it's summer. The days are long and warm, the black-caps are going strong, the veggies in the garden are growing like crazy, and I am a happy camper, in both the literal and figurative sense.

What are black caps? Rubus occidentalis, or wild black raspberries. I grew up picking these in the woods of Indiana, and they grow wild in the hedgerows even here in the city. Though all the rain we've been having pretty much killed the strawberry crop this year, it's been great for the black caps. On a dry year they quickly become little, hard, and tasteless. This year they're big, plump, and chock full of juicy flavor. They have bigger seeds that a cultivated black raspberry, but they also have a wild flavor that nothing domesticated can touch.

This time of year I feel like I could eat berries and nothing but berries for a week, and black caps have been fulfilling my berry desires quite nicely. There are some bushes in back of the Main Street Garden, and also some in the park across the street from our house.

On to the other garden plots.......

McCormick. The melons are up, but not too exciting. I'm still confident that at least some of the varieties will take off. As uninspiring as this garden looks, it's a lot better off than some of the other plots in this community garden. The soil is very clay, and drainage is not good at all. We've been getting a ton of rain and some of the plots are almost completely underwater. Somehow we lucked out and got one of the sunniest plots, and also one of the highest in elevation. I'm glad I planted everything in hills, that's also helped the plants keep dry.

In the middle of the plot was supposed to be a few big sunflowers. I planted a bunch of seeds, but something has methodically eaten all the sprouts, leaving only little sad sunflower sprout stalks...... I hope whoever it was enjoyed themselves.

The winter squash are doing the best of anything. Looking pretty good.

The watermelon are looking decent. I'm hoping that they'll take off very soon.

Of all the melons, the Wisconsin Pride variety are doing the best - there's even a little yellow flower peeking out from under the plant on the right. Figures that a variety with the state name in it would do well in this state. I'll have to save some seeds from these if they fruit well.

Okra is up and looking vigorous, if small. Some hot weather would be nice for these little guys.

The Main Street Garden, in contrast, is about as lush and fertile as they come. Mom is done with school now, and she's had time to put into making things tidy and beautiful. The front of the circle was planted in carrots that never germinated, but other than that everything is just gorgeous.

The first little zucchini!

The beans are flowering heavily. We'll be picking next week.

Cucumbers are also flowering and starting to really climb.

Broccoli plants looking beautiful. Shouldn't be too long until they start forming heads.

Potatoes, tomatoes, and peas. You can't pick out the tomatoes in this big green mass, but let me tell you, they are absolutely HUGE! It's just incredible how much things can grow in a matter of a week. Lots of flowers, and some little tomatoes starting to form. The peas are still going strong, and the potatoes are nearing harvest time.

Hello, July.

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