Surprises Everywhere!

Oh my Godzilla, the Food It Yourself garden is growing and changing every single day! It has been a season of surprises, both good and bad. Let me show you what we have going on.

We had snow and frost from April through mid May this year, so I was convinced that my strawberries and cherries (which were already blooming at the time) would suffer. Add in the lack of rain from late May through right now and it was a big surprise that we picked anything. The berries were much smaller than usual and not really juicy, but the flavor was super concentrated. Mr. Food It Yourself and I enjoyed some of the best smoothies ever made with these berries.

The cherries were pollinated more extensively than I expected. The fruit is still ripening, but it looks like we will have a decent harvest. Bonus: I think the dry weather has helped prevent the fungus I had last year from returning.

Our tomato situation also surprised us. One of the seeding 6-packs I purchased turned out to be a 9 pack. There were multiple plants in one cell. That means some extra tomatoes are growing next to the rhubarb. Also, we got some volunteers from the compost I added to the expanded strawberry bed. I am already counting my jars. I suspect I will be putting up a few quarts this year.

Volunteer plants might be my favorite side effect of using compost.

Let’s talk about sunflowers. Mr. Food It Yourself and I both adore them! Unfortunately, some of the sunflowers we planted in the front yard were irreparably damaged by the evil woodchucks. That was no surprise. However, we are shocked to discover how many caches of sunflower seeds were buried in our yard by squirrels. There are clusters of sunflower sprouts in the strawberries, next to the zucchini, between the snow peas and bok-choy, and even in the little pots I put my mint divisions in!

We are going to let them get a little bigger, then use the biggest ones to replace the ones the woodchucks got. Also, we have neutralized the woodchucks. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say they are stealing tomatoes from the Garden of Eden now.

Now here is a big surprise. Remember how I cut down all those weedy, unwanted saplings in February? Remember how I used the branches to make a fence for my snow peas in April? Well, now this is happening:

Wild, right?

My favorite surprise, however, has nothing to do with plants. If you have been reading the blog for a while you know I love collecting “dirt presents” when I work in my garden. This year’s dirt present is the best yet. I found a rock with quarts crystal points in it. Take a look!

I thought it was a piece of glass at first.
I love how that little point is visible through the two “windows”
Mr. Food It Yourself has a USB microscope camera gadget. I used it to get some close up shots of the pretty stuff.
Crystals are the sparkly-est form of geometry.
So pretty!

There is always an element of the unexpected when you have a garden. There are so many things that can go wrong, and so many that can go right. There are always surprises! What surprises (good and bad) have you had in your garden this season? Share in the comments!