July in the garden is a wonderful time. The plants are growing thanks to the humidity and abundant sunshine, everything is green and vibrant, and I am always pitter-pattering around in the backyard finding things to do.
This year we made a goal to have more of an 'urban homestead' presence in our front yard, but do so with awareness to our neighbors' preferences and the historic integrity of our neighborhood. Aside from planter boxes around our porch, we installed a fence and planted onions, summer squash, peppers, and cabbage.
The cabbage is doing pretty well, even considering there were bugs eating at the leaves a few weeks ago. I am going to harvest these heads early while they are small. I envision them drizzled in olive oil and seasoned, then tossed on the grill.
Seeing the yellow summer squash peeking out among the big leaves is a nice treat. As I am mowing in the front yard I'll peel back the leaves to check the progress. Every day I am harvesting at least one. These things grow like crazy, right?!
Also on my front porch right now is about a third of our garlic harvest. I dig the garlic as it is ready, then let the heads chill on the front porch until they're ready to braid. Depending on the weather and how fast they dry, I will probably braid them in the next day or so.
As you walk to our backyard, I am greeted by another new project: Our future strawberry bed!
We dug the peonies and relocated them, then John built this deep raised bed. I used non-glossy cardboard and compost from our bin to stifle grass growth. Soon we will fill it with dirt and more compost. Strawberries will go in next spring. I have plans to fill the holes where the peonies once were, but for now the ladies LOVE dust bathing there. I feel kinda guilty filling them in.
For now, I toss kitchen scraps and yard waste in the nearly-empty garden bed. The chickens love that too! Speaking of the ladies, they're doing great:
The little girls have been welcomed to the coop pretty well by the big girls. No bloodshed. No feathers lost. It was a mostly smooth transition adding four new hens to the flock. I think one might be a rooster, but time will tell.
The backyard garden is doing so, so well. I'll let you take a look for yourself:
What's growing in your yard? Tell me about your successes and challenges!