Harvest begins!

Ahhhhhh……a moment to sit at my computer!!! Who knew I would miss this? I have to be honest and say that when I started out on the process of writing about gardening, I envisioned all kinds of time to sit…..but, as we all know, life happens. Big time.

So lets talk about summer in Alberta. This year we are lucky: the snow ended in April and by May we had beautifully warm days! June is always temperamental, with warm/cold/rain/cold/warm….and then finally it stays warm. July hits…school is out, family travels, kids arrive for a few days to enjoy the outdoors….and the heat comes…..along with some thunderstorms. And now I am facing August….the last month without frost! Yikes…..September is beautiful here, though, leaves begin to change, and warm days with the ‘smell’ of harvest. I love it! What I don’t love is the impending snow, which can start in October, and we are indoors, planning for next May!!!! That is our summer/fall/spring…..and I love winter, but it truly puts a damper on gardening.

Life: what doesn’t happen when you aren’t looking???? This year has been a tough IMG_3351one. We have lost one brother (in law for me) and now are in the final days of another brother, this one is mine. Neither live close, therefor we travel. My heart is a little heavy. We have just returned from a farewell visit, barring a rather large miracle, which I am open to….today my garden is my therapy.

I harvested some of the herbs prior to our leaving so they are nice and dry…..and now I need to cut more that are ready. The growth is amazing!!!! I have now cut IMG_3304the lemon balm (ready again), oregano, mint, spearmint, lavender (just starting) and will head out to the thyme. I am lucky with the oregano, thyme and lavender. They overwinter beautifully, without additional cover (snow is ample) and year after year we enjoy fresh and dried herbs. The mint also overwinters, but we have having a chat about behavior. It seems to be a tad rebellious this year, wanting to overtake the kids play area, the iris, the day lily…..and I am trying to teach discipline. You can only imagine how well that is going! Sheesh!!! but, I drink a lot of mint tea, so chop chop chop! And a wee bit of digging to try and keep the bugger in check!!!

IMG_3305I purchased a drying rack from Lee Valley. It is actually quite amazing! I have attached it to a main cross beam in my dropped ceiling (these are secured to the floor joists and solid) downstairs, and it is super light weight and airy. Last year, I used newspaper and old towels under a bed……this is so much nicer. And relatively inexpensive! It would not work good for heavier produce, but for herbs, wonderful.

And, as we had just returned home, I spent the day pruning wild tomatoes (no photo, sorry, but now they are good), digging up some potatoes so I could walk past the foliage, and harvesting cucs, zucchini, beans (just starting) peas, and berries!!! We had an awesome meal last evening!

I also had to prune out a lot of broken branches, and flower stalks. Whilst away on family matters, a storm settled into Central Alberta, with hail the size of golf balls and larger! We, thankfully, were on the tail end of that and only got a small amount of the hail. Our neighboring town was a white ground, with broken windows, damaged houses and cars and a mess. I am grateful to have little damage. I did need to do some deadheading on the delphiniums anyway, so now it is done!!

But, I must run…..there are other chores (and they are not really chores to me) that need my attention. Until next time, happy gardening. IMG_3331

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