June 2014 NJ Garden Progress and Changes


Mom stays here often these days and brings our dear, energetic, 2 1/2 year old yellow lab, VANNA. Vanna lives in capital letters. She’s hilarious, willful, crazy, smart and a big pain in my garden’s butt. Yesterday, we put up a knee high fence to keep her rampages contained to the “lawn” instead of the lettuce. Hopefully, the fence will keep the puppies out and won’t stop ME from going in to pull the weeds, tie the tomatoes and harvest the goods!

The aphids are back and have congregated most heavily on my front yard lapin cherry and the two beach plums. The beach plums annoyingly bloomed just separate of each other this year so there isn’t a single fruit on either shrub, however the lapin cherry fruited beautifully this spring. This, however, is suffering for the second year from some terrible affliction that is turning the plump green cherries to brown and dropping them before they can ripen. Maybe the aphids are to blame, but the trouble could be unrelated.

Though this loss makes me sad, I am looking forward to the other fruit that is doing well. The blueberry bushes have taken off and look good this year. It’s definitely time to net them as the berries should be turning blue soon. There are a few peaches on the 2 year young bonfire peach, my first service berries and black currents are ripening and the gooseberries are spreading in the shady forest garden. The thornless blackberries I got from my neighbor and long time gardener Phil are blooming nicely and no matter how I abuse and mulch over my strawberries, they come back and bear fruit every year. The 2 in 1 Asian pear has a dozen baby pears on it an the paw paws came back but don’t seem even close to bearing fruit. They are still very small.

The more hours I work, the less time I have to harvest and thin my plants so the mint and be balm are crowding the hugelkultur bed in the front yard. The Jerusalem artichokes are back whether I like it or not (I roll my eyes when I see them in the spring, but I do like them when they bloom). I didn’t pull the horseradish in the fall before the plants died back so now it’s kind of… everywhere. I’ve got to dig up as much as I can this fall.

I bought my eggplant and pepper starts from Moore’s on Rt. 9 in Beachwood this year, but I was able to start my tomatoes from seed and they all seem to be doing very well.

Plans are changing at MyNJGarden and I’m not sure how much longer I will be living in and loving this garden. Mom is joining forces with Husband, kids and I to become a larger, stronger, combined household. We are considering the financial benefits of adding on to the house vs. finding a larger house in the area. Though we all love the location and property of MyNJGarden, the house isn’t new and the cost of New Construction is fairly low right now. That combined with the tragedy of being underwater in a mortgage makes for a hard “should I stay or should I go now?” decision.

The suggestion to “not even plant vegetables this year” was raised and quickly dismissed because who knows how long these decisions will take to make and to come to fruition?

My shoulders have been hurting in the morning lately and I think it has to do with not being in the best physical shape of my life. Rather than paying someone else to go to a building with artificial light and run on a human hamster wheel, I’m going to get in touch with my favorite local tree service and request a truckload of mulch be deposited in my front yard. That should fix my shoulder right up. (yikes)

All this being said, June is my favorite time of the year. I walk through the yard and I know my grass isn’t perfect and I’ve got weeds poking all around, but I just love the way it fills in in June and I dream up more plans for new plantings, pathways and structures every year. It is my happy place. Here’s a gallery of pics I took today – I welcome your questions and comments! Thanks for reading!