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Garden Progress 2018

Any one who farms or gardens or even just lives in Maine knows how crazy the summer months can be. It is odd to think that, in the garden at least, we're already planning for winter by what we are growing and gathering now.

The garden has been fully planted and is already starting to produce a few springs crops such as radishes and some turnips. With our house construction and plans to move into the house in September or so - prime harvesting time - I went for mostly crops I enjoy fresh off the vine. I don't see myself spending a lot of time canning and preserving this year, and don't need the added stress of feeling like I should be doing those tasks.

To that end I planted the entire long side of the garden with snap peas. That's a very long long side and will definitely provide me with as many peas as I can eat off the vine and lots left over for salads, too! We've got plenty of cherry tomato plants and a few heirloom varieties as well, a slew of different kinds of eggplants, broccoli and Swiss chard. The exception to my no-canning rule will be sauerkraut, which is fairly quick and easy to make and I absolutely love, so there's plenty of cabbage varieties in the garden as well.

Last year's biggest garden failing with the corn, so this year I planted in short rows that should result in better pollination. We've got plenty of potatoes, carrots, lettuce of all varieties and peppers.

Finally an entire corner is dedicated to first cucumbers, which will ripen up soon, then zucchini and summer squash (fewer than last year when I was overwhelmed!) then winter squash and other hard squash varieties, and finally pumpkins. It's going to be the year of the vines! I am so excited to try new recipes with all my squash, and I'll admit that I'm also excited to decorate what will be my newly finished house with plenty of fresh garden produce.

I am a competitive gardener. Other people's gardens inspire me, but they also get my competitive juices flowing and I get eager for a bumper crop this year. Each year I take more steps to avoid problems from previous years and to ensure a healthy and plentiful harvest. It all starts with lots of watering and occasional fertilization. I keep everything well weeded so that the plants get all the nutrition that they can, and inspect the garden daily for bugs or signs of trouble. And then I wait!

This is my favorite time of year. Not only am I watching the fruits of my labors turn into actual fruits for me to harvest, I'm out in the sun all day with the dirt under my nails. It's the perfect recipe for a good mood, and no matter how long the days get I still wake up eager for more.


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