WELL, IT’S A TYPICAL FIRST DAY OF SUMMER HERE IN SEATTLE. Gray skies to start the day, then the rain began around 9:30. So much for yard work. Yesterday was not much better, gray and drizzly most of the day. High of 56°—normal is 70°. Gets a bit depressing after months of the same. So we have fond wishes for summer and its warmth to arrive soon. Good news: no supplemental watering needed up to today!
Friday was lovely and warm and I picked all of the fava beans. The vines are done flowering and producing so they all came out of the ground. The vines were six feet tall. ‘Aqua dulce’ is a heavy bearing variety with pods up to eight inches long. I will plant the same this fall. I also picked all of the peas even though these vines continue to produce flowers, although not too many so they to will be pulled up to make way for peppers, eggplant and other vegetables.
Here is what is important about planting legumes: the little nitrogen fixing nodules attached to the roots.
“Legumes do not actually make nitrates from air by themselves, but in cooperation with certain specialized soil bacteria, which form little pinkish nodules along legume roots visible to the naked eye. Without the bacteria, legumes become consumers rather than makers of nitrogen….The amount of nitrogen fixed by legumes is not inconsequential. Garden beans and peas will fix 60 to 80 pounds of nitrogen per acre…Overwintered favas will create over 200 pounds per acre.” (Excerpted from Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, Steve Solomon, 1989 edition.)
Friday’s final harvest tallies: Peas 5 pounds
Fava beans 25 pounds in the shell, 8 lbs. 11 oz shelled. 7 pounds were blanched, plunged into cold water, dried of excess water and put in to nine pint freezer bags for later use over the winter. They will bring a touch of green spring when it is most needed.
Here is what was blooming around the garden on the Friday afternoon tour. It looks like summer on the ground, and thankfully there is color to offset the daily gray. From here on it will be weeding and deadheading for a while, pleasantly meditative chores. When I had my haircut a couple of days ago the stylist imparted these words of wisdom, “chores bring enlightenment”, I really like that.
Dainty and swaying on tall, thin stems are columbine. The one above is our native Western columbine, aquilegia formosa. Columbine are prolific seeders and breeders. This one has crossed with others in the garden thanks to pollinators, to produce a light pink one and a sort of maroon one, among others while still keeping the same form.
This climbing rose is ‘Altissimo’. A beautiful deep red with petals that look and feel like silk. It grows to about seven feet and has a simple petal arrangement when open.
The bad plant from the March rant about pests, campanula persifolia. They are lovely and have a long bloom time, just not well behaved.
This blue hosta ‘Halcyon’ is under a weeping blue spruce, abies concolour ‘Blue Cloak’. I can’t decide if I like this combination. It might be too much.
This is a great clematis that we bought three years ago. I cannot find the tag, so do not know its name. We put together three ten foot lengths of rebar into a tepee shape for the vines to crawl up. It an unusual red, I think.
I think this not yet open flower is a beautiful form.
This orange papaver orientale is from our former neighbor, Mrs. Gould. She was clearing out a flower bed and gave me a few roots. She moved to a retirement home in Issaquah four years ago, so when they begin blooming I am reminded of her. They are just now blooming in my garden, more than three weeks later than most everywhere in my neighborhood due to a somewhat shaded location. They are like bright lights in deep shade and look good combined with fennel. They too have a tendency to spread but are easy to control.
This is of the ‘Connecticut Yankee’ series of delphiniums. I love the pale blue color and the petals have a slight iridescent quality.
Most of the frilly poppies are volunteers in the vegetable garden, mostly from seed that got into the compost, that was then incorporated back into to the garden. There were several plants in with the fava beans, so the poppies came out too. I stripped off most of the leaves, cut the stems and put them all into a tall galvanized container for a big poppy bouquet on the deck. I think that the seedheads are really attractive and I am continually drawn to them as the petals fall away, wanting to draw and paint them every year. Perhaps it is the simple form.
Two first-day-of-summer photos to close out the post as the rain pours down now. Hope your day is sunny!
P.S. No more talk about fava beans!