I am a wee bit tired, having only partly slept through the longest thunderstorm I have ever experienced last night. Thunder and lightening are a regular part of the early summer weather pattern here in the Sierras each year, but last night's was the most awesome and overwhelming one to date. The storm started just before 9 PM, and was probably at its fiercest around 11 PM, but lots of lightening and rolling thunder passed overhead, accompanied by periodic cloudbursts, until about 6:45 AM! At least I can skip watering the garden for a few days.
My raised beds are almost full once again, with the focus this year on having a little bit of many wonderful things. I have coreopsis, calendula, bronze fennel and opal basil all growing for future dyepot experiments, Jerusalem artichokes and Yacon to add interest in the root crop division (along with Chiogga beets, my personal heirloom favorites), and of course a bed dedicated to the Three Sisters. It contains Blue Lake beans, Buttercup squash (we grew enough of these last year to eat once a week until early this month!), and a few token corn plants for scaffolding for the beans. You see, corn doesn't really do very well in the foothill country here.... better to buy loads of it fresh at the farmer's markets. However, corn is an important component of the three sisters, and is joined by a fourth, sunflowers, along with edible nasturtium flowers and decorative morning glory ones, all still in their early stages of development.
Of course, there is a tomato bed, with one each of Green Zebra (one of my favorites), Red Zebra, Red Pear, Brandywine (a scrumptious heirloom) and Sweet 100 (the easiest of the cherry varieties). I got inspired to try out the Topsy Turvey planter, which holds a Yellow Pear. We are particularly fond of eating cherry tomatoes right off the vine, though I do plan to solar dry slices of brandywines and pack them in olive oil. I DO NOT plan to can loads and loads... after all, tomatoes are one of the top crops only 40 miles from here, and I can get canned organic ones without melting all summer in my kitchen (at least for now). The tomato bed also is home to two kinds of basil, which gets cut regularly and either dried or put in ice cube trays, covered with water and frozen to be added to soups in winter.
Another bed contains a few heirloom eggplants that were promised to be a deep rose in color, a red pepper, a hill of lemon cucumbers, and several culinary herbs, while "beer friends" (Japanese slang for edamame, or green soybeans) and Asian pumpkin grow in with the Jerusalem artichokes. I really am all about interplanting, and find that plant communities do better than mono-crop beds or rows. Therefore, bush beans are growing in another bed together with beets and borage, while out on the driveway side of the kitchen, there is a large bed for perennial herbs, including a low hedge of creeping rosemary, oregano, mullien, feverfew, hyssop, yarrow, coreopsis, lupine and clary sage (which looks magnificent in bloom).
As you can tell, getting the gardens in order has been taking a lot of my spare time! I did finish the baby blankie midweek, and am working on my Gaia Shoulder Hug, as well as looking for places on my busy calendar to plug in spinning in public. Our guild will be celebrating worldwide Knit In Public Day next Saturday at the Nevada County Growers Market (actually KIP Day is June 14th), while I teach an intermediate crochet class at Fibers. And I am still wondering, "How'd it get to be June?" Have a great weekend, everyone!