The Greatest Gardner

100_4061As I wander about our garden and marvel at what is growing and how it all came to be I can only conclude that my wife is, simply, one hell of a Gardner!  Keep in mind we have a cold, short growing season.  We get frost in June and we get frost in August, yet my wife has figured out ways to cheat our cold climate out of some terrific bounty.

From putting inoculant on the seeds to assure a higher percentage of germination, to cheating the cold with “walls of water” in the spring by first warming the ground to avoid transplant shock and later to protect the young plants from frost.  She employed the use of a cold frame to get cucumbers, peppers and other plants started earlier than normal and then transplanted them to where she would have them grow after the weather moderated.   Some might say a greenhouse is in order, but they are expensive and come with their own issues of disease and pests.

August is the month when it all begins to come home and we are rewarded with the bounty springing from her efforts.  I’ve picked and frozen nearly 20 quarts of raspberries, not to mention all the fresh ones we have eaten.  We got our first tomatoes in late July, and now the cucumbers are rolling in at levels which will soon allow us to make pickles.  We’ve been eating fresh salad greens since April and had fresh (and especially sweet) carrots all through winter, simply by placing some straw over the carrots in the ground to protect them from freezing.

The first of the potatoes will soon find their way to the grill either baked or kabob’ed and the corn will soon be there too.  Lets not forget the sweet Walla Walla onions we’ve been eating for quite some time and the garlic and herbs she has long been harvesting.  Yellow and red onions have been a staple in our salads for the last few weeks.

All of this from seed sources free of GMO’s.

Ever had a SunGold cherry tomato?  Once you do those good old Sweet 100’s wont seem so sweet anymore!   I always look forward to fall when the tomatoes ripen by the truck load and we spend a day or two together canning them.   I suppose to some this would seem like work, but its the difference between folks who love seeing the work of their hands come to fruition and those who don’t; those who find it better to produce something and provide for themselves and those who chose not to.  Besides, what greater reward is there than to spend a day at your mates side, working together towards a common goal.  Gardening is certainly not instant gratification, but as with all things that take time to accomplish, the rewards are great.

Then there’s the arrangement my wife has made to irrigate some pasture while the owners are away for a month or so in the summer.  This agreement provides us with all natural, grass fed, anti-biotic free beef.  Just another reflection of my wife’s abilities.  She’d be a regular farm girl if we could have ever had a farm.  Or as I said in my book and took a lot of heat for – “she was simply irreplaceable, like a piece of old farm equipment, they just didn’t make em’ like that anymore.”  Well, they probably do, but they are far more rare today than they used to be and certainly of greater value.  I know what a gem she truly is!

While perusing the pictures, take a look at the netting over the apple tree that keeps the birds out.  It is of simple PVC construction set over rebar that is hammered into the ground.  Working with bird netting is never easy, but the slick PVC plastic framework makes the job easier and at four bucks a pound in the stores for non-organic Honeycrisp apples, its well worth it.

We are approaching the season when the blessings from the garden will be many and the benefits of fresh organic foods resulting from my wife’s ingenuity and determination grace our table daily and for many months to come.  But the greatest blessing of all is my wife, who just happens to be celebrating her birthday today.  Happy Birthday Babe!

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