I suppose for people who live fast-paced lives with all kinds of things going on, maybe raising kids or having interesting jobs and other activities, the garden may not bring them the excitement that it brings me.

The Black Seeded Simpson lettuce on Joe Kuharic's farm is ready for the first picking on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
The Black Seeded Simpson lettuce on Joe Kuharic’s farm is ready for the first picking on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

But for someone in retirement, like myself, it is a pretty neat activity to work on and see day-to-day progression. Of course there are disappointments as well as successes but, particularly in June, it is a time for many vegetables to mature and start to give back something for the table.

Having just returned from being away for several days, it was exciting to see how things had progressed in the garden in my absence. We had problems with some animal eating the first ripe strawberries, but evidently when a lot of them ripen at once the critter decided to share them; I got to pick the first small quantity of berries when I got home. My broccoli is also ready for the first picking. I have been getting my broccoli starts from my brother-in-law in Southern Indiana and it always produces early. This year was no exception.

Red Fire lettuce is ready to be picked at Joe Kuharic's farm on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
Red Fire lettuce is ready to be picked at Joe Kuharic’s farm on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

The morning we left out of town I happened to notice potato bugs starting in on my potatoes. They can spread in a hurry if not controlled, so I hit them with some organic pesticide dust before we left. Now there are still a few bugs out there, but I will mix up some insecticidal soap and be able to control them by spraying the larvae. The soap will kill the soft bodied bugs by drying them out. This is about as non-toxic a pesticide as there is. There are many different recipes for making insecticidal soap, but having a pure soap solution of 3 to 5 percent in soft water (hard water lessens its effectiveness) is about the simplest one. This solution works well on just about any immature or soft-bodied insect.

Some of my onion plants are starting to make some nice-sized bulbs, that’s pretty cool. I have some carrots about eight inches tall, before too long I will do some thinning and might start having a few carrots for the table. One variety of my potatoes are starting to blossom, so in a few weeks I will dig a few early spuds and enjoy those for a real treat. There’s nothing like those early small potatoes!

A pair of spring onion sets are ready to be picked on Joe Kuharic's farm on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
A pair of spring onion sets are ready to be picked on Joe Kuharic’s farm on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

I started okra from seed this year for the first time. However, I think I may have inadvertently pulled up almost all my okra plants thinking they were weeds. With my lack of familiarity with what they look like as seedlings and my compromised eyesight, I think in my early efforts to weed my garden I pulled them all up. I do have one that I can now recognize as okra so I guess that just makes one more garden story to talk about.

The poem I wrote entitled Joy of Gardening pretty well hits the mark for me at this time of year. I hope you might enjoy it also.

JOY OF GARDENING

I gaze upon my late spring garden,
pleased with what I see.
The dreams from a long, cold winter,
are becoming a reality.

The bright yellow straw I use for mulch,
shows quite nicely with the green.
It makes for such a pleasant sight,
about the nicest I have seen.

The raised-block beds form a frame,
to complete this lovely scene.
There is such a joy in gardening,
I’m sure you know just what I mean.

The hungry bugs may come next week,
or maybe a wilt or blight.
Or perhaps some pesky critters,
will find their dinner overnight.

But for me right now I am content,
to enjoy this peaceful sight.
The world may be a crazy place,
but the garden makes it all just right!

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