As we head into the dog days of August, the heat-loving crops are starting to ripen more each day, and the animals continue to seek the afternoon shade to stay cool—during the heat of the afternoons, the laying hens are often burrowed down into the cool dirt of their enclosure and the “girls” can be spotted lounging under the canopy of trees in their pasture.
As much as the sun-ripened peppers and tomatoes are loving the sunshine, other more tender crops, such as the lettuces and celery, are now needing a good drink of water each day so that they continue to thrive. New green beans are coming on, and our fruit crops are proving bountiful this year, from the big, juicy blueberries, raspberries and blackberries to colorful Italian and yellow plums.
Things are certainly quieter around here without the usual summer weddings and events, but we’re using the extra time during the lingering evenings and weekends to work in the newly-expanded, one acre cut-flower garden tucked next to our orchard and hoophouse where over 1,200 dahlias and other much-loved perennials should be blooming soon – stay tuned!
We hope you are also enjoying the many blessings of this sunny season, and that you and yours continue to stay safe and well.
It’s July and summer is trying its best to arrive here at the farm! Here’s what this beautiful, sunny season has in store for us:
The bold and beautiful tiger lilies that grow near the house have just begun to bloom, and during the warmer afternoons, the goats are often spotted resting and ruminating in the sunshine. (They keep this up until the evening hours when things start to look a little livelier out there when fresh hay for dinner arrives in the barn.)
Summer chores continue in the gardens, where we marvel at the growth of the beans, peas and cucumbers that climb their trellises by inches each day. Apples, plums and pears are developing on the trees and the Montmorency pie cherries will be harvested this week! We also are eagerly anticipating the first crop of fresh, juicy Tulameen raspberries that are just now starting to ripen. Some of these tart-sweet berries will be destined for a summer fruit crisp or for snacking, but a good portion are always set aside to use in our favorite fresh raspberry jam.
The honey bees are also loving the pleasant afternoons and buzz busily amongst the many varieties of blossoms, working hard collecting pollen and nectar; the blackberry flowers are a special favorite for them, being one of the honeybee’s main food sources here in the Pacific Northwest.
Like many of you, we are still finding new projects to undertake and are excited to have planted a new, two-acre cut flower garden next to our hoophouse where we are growing many of our favorite flowers such as dahlias, phlox, cosmos, sunflowers and more, plus trying some new and unusual varieties. In the evenings, we are busy with planning online flower and vegetable gardening classes.
It is definitely a bit quieter without the usual summer events happening, but we are also thankful for how busy we have been with the planning and preparation of the weekly add-on menu—it brings us such joy to continue to bring the farm to your tables, and we so appreciate your support. Take care; and we hope this sunny season brings you some joy!
From the baby birds leaving their nests to the abundance of beautiful blooms, it sure feels like summer is near—and the recent weather (with the exception of that wet and stormy Saturday) suggests that just might be true.
Like many of you, we have spent lots of time in the garden in the last few months and now the arrival of June means those are all nearly planted, lettuces and other greens all thriving in addition to the Romano beans inching their way up the trellises (tempting the pesky rabbits) and the fragrant herbs growing in the Walled Garden. Over a thousand dahlias and other perennials have gone into our cutting field for summer color and future flower arrangements.
Warm weather plants such as tomatoes and peppers are ready to go in the hoop house, with the eggplant and summer squash starts to follow. We’ve begun checking the strawberries to see if any are ripening, but we will have to be patient as those look to still be a week or two out. In the meantime, we will enjoy the peonies as they start their vibrant season as well as the first flush of English roses in bloom.
Around the rest of Bella Luna, the animals are enjoying a ‘spa day’ to brush out the last of their thick winter undercoats, and the donkey (aka Stinky) will get a much needed bath! Dave and Beth Richards of JohnnyAppleBeez will soon come to retrieve their orchard mason bee houses from the garden, which will be filled with the cocoons of baby bees; the Richards will help these bees become next year’s crop pollinators.
Enjoy this most pleasant start to June and we hope you and yours continue to be well!
April’s late month showers have indeed brought May flowers, gracing Bella Luna with a lush beauty as spring has gradually arrived at the farm. The mild weather of late has really jump-started our ‘to-do’ list, keeping us busy dawn to dusk trying to get ahead of the weeds that seem to pop up overnight now that the sun has arrived.
As we continue on hunkered down here at Bella Luna, the apple, cherry, and pear trees along with the blueberry bushes are abloom in both the orchard and the garden where Woodinville’s Johnny Applebees LLC recently installed specialized orchard mason bee houses to aid pollination and good fruit production. We are harvesting asparagus and herbs galore from the main vegetable plot, and the raspberries there are about to bloom as well. We are also planting peas, carrots, lettuces, beets, leeks and onions, and then the beans, cucumbers, and summer squashes are seeded in the greenhouse to be planted out in a few weeks when the soil is warmer. (It seems it’s time to secure the gates to the vegetable gardens so we don’t have any furry guests nibbling tender new shoots!)
When it is sunny out, the ‘girls’ venture out to enjoy the lush green pasture, where they also like to stretch their heads over the fence to nibble on any brambles they can reach, and then take a break to lie down in the tall grass. We are also once again treated to the chorus of frogs at night, so loud we can hear them indoors—a most welcome symphony after such a long couple of months for all of us. Take care!