A five-minute picking round first thing in the morning; about as local as it gets.

About this time of year, things start to shift. We’re a month past the solstice – the plants in the kitchen garden are moving into fruit and seed production.
The other morning I was harvesting the early potatoes with the “assistance” of Radar the BatCat. He thought he was helping, anyway, and far be it from me to disillusion him. At the same time, I’m succession planting fast-growing crops like lettuce and snap beans. It’s almost time to start the plants for the winter garden. The summer apples are ripening in the house orchard and a few blackberries are starting to turn dark. This is going to be a banner year for blackberries – the berries are not too big, as far as I can tell, but there are zillions.

Blackberry cobbler in my future.

Hubby is decimating the blue jays, which think I grew those tomatoes and peppers in the kitchen garden just for them. I’m pretty sure they were responsible for the overnight disappearance of the almost-ripe apricots as well. The ground squirrels are also coming under the gun (literally) as they had grown so complacent they would sit a couple of feet from you and take a dust bath. Ground squirrels are really hard on crops like squash and pumpkins, and their tunnels mean we have trouble keeping irrigation water flowing where it’s supposed to.

Ground squirrel damage in summer squash.

Yellow Delicious apples ripening in the north orchard (as opposed to the house orchard).

The wild plums will be ripe in another week or so. Apples, pears and grapes will follow, then the main crops of pole beans, tomatoes and peppers. Before we know it, fall will be here, and the shelves will be full of tomato sauce, grape juice, applesauce and pear nectar. I usually freeze blackberries, but since there are so many this year, I might try juicing them the same way I do grape juice.
Transition – time to stock the larder. Winter will be here before we know it.

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