The First Pea and the Last Tick

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homestead-and-livestock/homestead-summer-zbcz1306.aspx

herb gardenWell, the title is not quite accurate. We did share our first snap pea more than a week ago (from a single flower that I nursed through the snow and multiple frosts at the end of May); a steady harvest, however, is still a few weeks away. As to the ticks, this may be pure optimism. My ticks-pulled-off-per-day ratio is certainly declining. Nonetheless, as much as I hope that this day may just offer the final find, the ticks clearly have their own schedule. Well, OK, so be it.

On the subject of firsts and lasts, there are others to share as well. We've had our first nasturtium leaves mixed into our salads, the first rosemary harvest, our first stevia plant growing large enough to transplant to a bigger pot ... Our youngest blueberry bushes are flowering and setting their first fruits; I've just hilled  our massive potatoes for the first time, we've enjoyed our first picking of wild strawberries, and are gingerly tending our first chamomile, horseradish and sage plants.

While unclear where the first actually was, we now have sunflowers, lupines, calendula, nasturtium, cleome and zinnia popping up in fits and starts all around the homestead. There have been more than a few surprises as we watch flowers emerge from nooks in which I had forgotten I'd tucked seeds into at all.

As to lasts, the final few of my transplants (some smaller cucumbers) were put out this week. By the time this is published, we will likely have eaten the last of the fresh rhubarb for the season, and will certainly be done with the occasional fiddlehead. Hopefully, cautiously, we have also seen the last of snow, and the last of the chilling temperatures.

growing garlicLooking through some history on New England weather, however, Ryan found late frost events extending into the second week in June on occasion, and the latest snow date on record to be June 16, 1964. History may not have to repeat itself, and here's an extra hope that it doesn't. The crop calamities that such weather events caused are tragic footnotes in New England history.

So here's to optimistically moving towards summer. For the handful of sweltering days we've had, we've also had quite a number of cool days and cooler nights. The basil and tomatoes in particular seem a bit lost for all these 50 degree days, but the kale, potatoes and beans are flourishing. We wish, as always, for ideal weather. Or, at least, that if we can't have a larder stocked with tomato sauce, we’ll have a cellar full of 'taters.

For ecological garden design and maintenance, or weeds pulled from your garden or landscaped house front, please contact Beth via b.a.weick@gmail.com.