The June Garden

The heatwave of spring has made way for rolling thunder storms.

A bright lit early evening was swallowed by a swirling mass of darkening clouds gathered directly above our garden. It was one of those heart racing moments when my count between the lightning and thunder is zero. (The photograph below is not monochrome.)

After one of June’s many sudden downpours had slowed to a drizzle, I spotted this fellow crossing the path. From my normal perspective, snails can be something of a greyish-brown nuisance. We often find ourselves having to collect them at dusk from our vulnerable seedlings, or otherwise sigh as we spot tell tale trails across our raised beds. Up close, they can be fascinating to watch as they carefully choose their route and their shells have tinges of shiny gold. A little biodiversity goes a long way, so I let this chap, who was a fair distance away from the veg plot, continue on his journey.

My onions are equally puzzled by the drastic changes in weather and have started to bolt, putting forth long flower stems before they have had time to fully fatten the bulb. They are therefore a touch smaller than last year but we do not mind. There are always changes from one summer to the next, depending on the weather. I am just so glad they made it through a winter of constant flooding and the unrelenting dry heat of early spring.

I spend an afternoon going through recipes and counting how many glass jars I have free. On Sunday the kitchen will smell like the ocean, whilst half of the onions sit in brine before pickling. The remainder are destined for salads and large batches of sauce.

As the weather clears, we start to prep what was the over-wintered onion bed for what will become our pumpkin patch. The sudden bolt of the onions is good timing after all, as the Jack o Lantern and squash seedlings, spurred on by the soggy conditions, are starting to outgrow their cardboard egg boxes.

Artichokes are included in our local vegetable box delivery this week. I love my veggies – how have I never tried them from fresh before? I soon discover that raw artichokes do not want to be eaten. These pangolin-like oddities have armour plating and spikes. A curious crowd gathers in the kitchen to watch. De-barbed and steamed, the leaves are then snapped off and dipped into garlic mayonnaise.* Later, when I peel the carrots for dinner, it feels as quick and easy as a ready meal.

A much simpler kitchen experiment this week was our first attempt at making our own bird feeders, complete with little perches of homegrown bamboo. We saved the coconut shells from shop-bought versions and refilled them with mixed seeds and melted vegetable suet.

After a few wary days of hopping gradually closer, the local wild bird population and our resident pigeon family give them a seal of approval.

The sunshine is due return next week and the forest pathways have reopened after the lockdown. Early morning woodland walks through the dawn mist? Soon it will really feel like summer.

*All artichoke recipe and preparation suggestions very much welcomed ๐Ÿ™‚

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49 Comments

  1. Gorgeous photos! Everything looks so wholesome, even the snail. We adored artichokes. We boil ours until tender and then peel the leaves off and dip them in vinagrette, slowly making our way to the heart … which is the real treasure. They are the essential slow summer lunch, best enjoyed outside in sunshine of course. My mother-in-law unpacks hers completely, forming a flower round the outside of her plate, removes the choke and pours the vinagrette in the central hole. She then eats it from the inside out, which was how she was taught to eat them by a french family she au paired for back in the day.

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    1. Thank you so much! ๐ŸŒฟ Now youโ€™ve painted the picture I can imagine how delicious that would be, on a lovely summer afternoon. I shall try both versions! I like the idea of using the space from the choke as the dip ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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  2. My garlic is doing well, even during the winter here in Australia’s Southern Highlands. I have tried working on raw artichokes but gave up and will never even try anymore. I would rather vacuum the house, even though I don’t like that either.
    Great post again, lovely photos.

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  3. Great onion crop.

    I love the snail shot. Very nice photo and you’ve captured the light behind the snail perfectly.

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  4. I’ve tried artichoke and next time I’m growing a ready bottled variety. As for all that faff preparing them, I believe the army runs a course on domestic bomb disposal that includes artichokes… oh and that rain… anyone would think the cricket was due to start.

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  5. What a lovely garden. Your onions looks amazing and I love artichokes. Once boiled I peel them and dip in warm melted butter. And then there is the heart… mmmmmm!
    The snail picture is phenomenal!
    Oh have you ever left your artichoke go to seed? Itโ€™s quite beautiful!

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  6. It’s nice to know that I am not the only one that counts between thunder and lightening – LOL. You could send some of that rain our way. It’s been way to dry here lately, and all of the weather forecasters reports have been way off. We were supposed to have a 60% chance of some measurable rain last night and the storm split right around us again – boohoo.

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    1. Thank you! Theyโ€™re a bit smaller than last year – weโ€™ve had such perculiar weather that I think they got confused ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m onto harvested the garlic next! ๐ŸŒฟ

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  7. Hello from “Japan”– I recently came across your blog in my “you might be interested” section- and yes, I am! I agree with everyone else who says the snail photo is awesome! I also loved reading about your gardening and cooking adventures. Lovely blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Mrs N ๐Ÿ™‚ I can very much say the same in return – Iโ€™m learning Japanese at the moment and am very much looking forward to reading through all of your lovely articles and photographs ๐ŸŒฟ

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Interested that you are pickling half the onions, and using the other half for sauce. Don’t you just store some as is, for winter use? And what kind of sauce? I can’t imagine using that many onions made into “onion sauce” but if so, what do you eat it with or use it for? I pickled a bunch of shallots last year because with all the rain I knew they wouldn’t store, and the jars still sit on the shelf….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carolee – there’s so many of us and I use onions so much, that at the moment I can’t quite grow enough to have them left over (a future dream ๐Ÿ˜€ ) … I use homegrown onions as a base for pasta and pizza sauces, combined with the free tomatoes I get from friends’ allotments. When I make my own sauces, I can sneak lots of surplus veggies, like courgettes, in too. Pickled onions and shallots don’t last very long here – they are my husband and eldest son’s faves, so I make a ploughman’s supper with them once a week ๐Ÿ™‚ Saying that – I have just plaited and stored all of my garlic in the garage.

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  9. Wow you have a wonderful garden. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am pleased to meet you. I read your family story. I too love the simple life. We live on a ranch in Texas. We mostly live off of our land and the members of our community trade products and help each other. I love it. I am Hindu, but grew up with the Buddhist people who were exiled and came to live in India. I grew up learning how to live in harmony with Mother Nature. I still live that way and looks like you do too. ๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I have a new post published every Saturday at noon Eastern Standard USA Time. Right now I have posts scheduled through August 8th. Hopefully, I can be organized and efficient enough to keep with with my life and my posting schedule. โ˜บ

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  10. Your onions look great!! Great job keeping up with their growth.
    Nice picture of the snail visitor. They’re interesting creatures, that move faster than expected, and have voracious appetites. I personally think they make great pets. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€
    Have a great start to a new week! I’m inspired by your artichoke experiment. It woukd be fun to get the kids involved while investigating how to cook and eat it.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you SuZan – I hope youโ€™re having a lovely summer. The overwintered onions taste much mellower than the spring ones to me … it might be all the frost we get? I love both types though ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸŒฟ

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