June Comparisons

Well, as you heard in the May comparisons post, we are having a bit of a different year this year. May was a bit cooler than last year, delaying the start of the growing season. June feels like a different month completely.

This time last year we were under the insufferable heat of the heat-dome, something our region had never seen before. Wildfires were raging already and our view was something out of a post apocalyptic movie. The plants had grown fast in the early normal heat of June 2021 and really grew fast at the beginning of the heat dome. In fact, comparison photos are almost laughable with how far behind we are. That is ok, at least we can breath when we are outside and people are currently safe from wildfire threats. In fact, the threat this year is flooding with our rivers only just recently peaking, with a second peak predicted after the weekend. HUGE differences.

Now these weather calendars certainly show a big difference. On the day that I am writing this (June 30), we are 20C cooler than last year! That is a huge difference. In June 2021, we had 12 days over 30C. This June, 2022, we have only just reached 30C for the first time on Saturday June 26. In fact, most of the month we have been under 25C. That certainly has affected our garden. I’ll take a slower garden year over the insane weather we had last year.

Alright, let’s start with our driveway strawberries. I am pretty sure the are the June variety that gives an abundant of fruit in the early summer and then nothing for the rest of the year. If you have not read our blog before, these are accidental strawberries that grow along the fence in our driveway. We had a pot on the other side of the fence back in 2014 that had strawberries in it. They sent out all sorts of babies that found a happy home where the drain spout spreads water in our driveway. We have left them because they give us delicious berries, and they don’t seem to grow out any further, likely because they can’t without the water source of the drain pipe. Kurt also gives them a water during the summer when we don’t get much rain.

They have done a great job this spring. We have doubled what we got in June of last year. They did provide berries a little earlier last year, with a couple small harvest in late May (53g). Even if we added the May numbers from 2021 to the June 2021 numbers, we are still ahead this year, with lots more that will be ready by the end of the weekend. So far we have done a few batches of fruit leather with them, and I have a few ziplock bags frozen to make some more strawberry jam.

Our everbearing strawberries are doing about the same as last year, which is interesting considering they were growing much earlier in June 2021. We harvested throughout the full month of June 2021, whereas, for June 2022, we only just started harvesting on June 23. We also only have 1 of our 3 levels that have strawberry plants in them this year, so the plants we do have are producing much more than last year. To be fair, they may have been a little stunned last year with the heat, because it looks like they did slow down and almost stop producing during that heat dome. The cooler, wet weather seems to be doing great for growing this year.

The rhubarb this month has continues to grow, grow, grow. So much that I ended up doing a series of posts with rhubarb recipes because I wanted to reap the rewards of the garden. I also once again gave some away during June to family and co-workers.

We are especially proud of our onions, scallions and shallots. We decided to try growing them from seed this year. I had always bought little bulbs to plunk in, but this year we went from the itty, bitty little seeds. When I transplanted them, we weren’t sure if they would make it because they seemed so stringy and not very sturdy, but we went with it and got them into the garden. They are beautiful! It took about a week, but the greens are now standing tall and strong on all of them. We have a mix of sweet yellow (borettana), red onion (cabernet), shallots (zebrun) and scallions. We also have a few chives as well.

Now that we are into salad season, the scallions are getting trimmed regularly, but luckily we have a lot of them, so I just take a piece from a few and it is hardly noticeable, and the plant seems to stay happy.

As mentioned in the May comparisons, the herbs this year are much further along than last year, so we are able to utilize them a lot more this early in the year. I was especially excited to see my tarragon came back and is a behemoth now! I am hoping it will come back again next year.

I am however, sad to say that the thyme did not come back this year. It looked like it would, but it just didn’t manage it. Especially disappointing, since I didn’t start any thyme in the house this year. The rosemary is also taking it’s sweet time, and I lost a few plants that I had potted for in the house. Oh well, it will just get better every year with all that we learn by tracking it all.

So last year we tried celery for the first time and loved it. We had bought the plants from a nursery in 2021, but this year we decided to try growing as much as we could from seed. The celery was one of those plants, and so far it is paying off. I was able to take a few smaller pieces to chop up in some chicken salad the other day. It was delicious! We are looking forward to it getting a little bigger, but it is nice to know that we can take pieces even now.

So what are some of the other items we were able to harvest in June 2021 that we haven’t been able to harvest in 2022?

Beets. Yep, they are super close, and if I really wanted to, I could probably get a few smaller ones, but I would rather give them another week or so to get fully formed. I will have patience, though I am craving that gourmet beet salad that I made last year. It will definitely be the first one we make this year.

Cherries. We took the little cherry tree out at the end of last year because it was planted right where were we now plan to put our gazebo. We had decided early on that the fruit trees were the last thing we were going to plant because we kept changing our plans for the yard from year to year. We also want to do espaliered trees along the back fence, so as not to take up the little bit of room we have at the bottom of the yard. Our neighbour offered us the cherry tree because they had gotten it, along with a bunch of other ones and ended up not having anywhere to put it. We took it and thought it was safe to plant where we did, but unfortunately not. We will be planting another one once the back area is finished and ready for trees.

Well, I hope everyone else is having success with their gardens! I am sure we will be showing some updates throughout the month.

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