The summer solstice is a day I both look forward to and dread all at once. I love the kick off to the summer season, the sunshine, the warm breeze and how wild and green everything gets. I don’t like that it means daylight hours will start getting shorter and shorter until the winter solstice. (The winter solstice is my favorite day of that season.)
When I was a little girl, I would layout my sleeping bag in the grass of our backyard, watching the sky as “summer clouds” went by, while listening to either the sound of the birds and insects or my little white cassette/AM/FM stereo with colored buttons, hoping for my favorite song to come on. Remember those days? I loved this so much and think it is a big reason why I am so in love with summer days. Our house sat on almost a quarter acre and the backyard seemed like a park to me. We had a little garden where we grew carrots, cucumbers, and other easy to grow food crops. My mom wanted to make sure we knew where food came from and what it looked like in its original form. I remember the carrots being so incredibly tiny when we picked them, looking back I now know it was our impatience that was the reason behind the carrots being so small. The garden definitely teaches us patience, even more so when we grow our food from seed like those carrots. The process can take weeks to months, it still amazes me to see the bounty one plant can give.
Just yesterday I was harvesting sugar snap peas, marveling at how one seed grew into this amazing plant, flowered and then grew the pea pods. The flowers of peas are beautiful and bring such delight knowing that soon pea pods will appear. I must admit that a fair amount of pea pods do not make it into the house for others to enjoy. There is nothing like a fresh picked _______(insert any homegrown food here) straight from the garden. The taste is beyond delicious and peas are no exception. My youngest son would gladly eat the entire harvest if I let him. Yesterday we stood there picking peas and eating them while having a nice conversation. It is so wonderful connecting with your teenagers over homegrown food. Those peas were amazing. I kept my eye out for pods that weren’t quite ready yet, knowing once the pod forms they will very quickly go from just formed to ready to eat. I went out this afternoon and picked a few more, they didn’t make it into the house. That is the advantage of growing many plants up my trellises, lots of pods for harvesting during the solstice. In the spot opposite or just next to the peas I already have tomatoes and beans growing, getting ready to take over their spot on the trellises soon.
The summer solstice marks such a busy time in the transitioning garden, cool season plants that haven’t already bolted or gave their all are getting ready to finish up, warm season plants are really starting to show growth. As a gardener there is much to do, a big task now is making sure your plants are staying well hydrated for the heat. This means watering deeply in the early morning. This really is the best time to water in the heat of the summer. It gives your plants the best opportunity to hydrate before the heat sets in. It also allows any water that may have splashed onto your plants the chance to dry. You definitely do not want water sitting on your plants in the hot summer sun since water acts as a magnifier, your plants can burn from the sunlight if it is really sunny or too hot. You will also want to make sure you add fresh compost or organic food for your plants as the season changes and on a schedule any specific plants need. Supporting your plants in this way can help stave off disease and pest issues. When plants are strong the have a good chance of being more disease resistant because they are not stressed. Diseases and pests seem to lock on to stressed plants and attack there first.
The solstice is a great time to sit in your garden, meditate, and feel the connection to everything growing in your space. I hope that you were able to spend some time in your garden during the summer solstice.
Let me know what you think of these musings and if you’d like to see more of this from me!
𝙵𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚖𝚢 𝚐𝚊𝚛𝚍𝚎𝚗 & 𝚔𝚒𝚝𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚗 𝚝𝚘 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚜,