How Does Your Garden Grow? A Summer Garden Review

BonBon Break


Flowering surprise

After a very misty spring… After a lot of complaining about cool temperatures throughout June… After sending my son barking to fend off deer…the real produce is starting to show signs of life.

Spring provided plentiful lettuce, radishes, peas (oh those sweet,delicious peas!), chard and kale to our table. Early Summer welcomed our Seascape Strawberries as a garden treat and the harvesting of 46 heads of pungent garlic. What is next? Ohhh…the veggies have been busy with our warm temperatures this past week. When I say warm, I do mean warm. We have had highs in the mid- to low- 70s and lows in the high 40s. Welcome to summer in full swing in the coastal islands of the Pacific Northwest.

While some gardeners are wrapping up their growing season or harvesting tomatoes and peppers, we are just getting started. I mean REALLY just getting started. If it is green, it grows well here. If it offers a little color, it struggles.

If it is green, it thrives here.

Our entire growing season is about 8 weeks long for the fruits and vegetables that really need heat to flourish. Tomatoes are just about impossible unless you have a greenhouse. Cherry tomatoes are doable, so who’s complaining?

Peas are happy here. We can usually harvest snap peas for about a month straight, if we plant in succession. Some years we can even eek out another round in September and October.

To be honest, the peas never make it into the house, neither do the strawberries. They are our fast food. Daily trips are made into the garden to see if there are any ready for little fingers to grab. Each of my littles has their favorite spots in the garden to harvest their snacks. The magic to me is when they pause and decide to leave a strawberry for another day or two because they know it will be worth the wait. There is so much to learn from a garden.

Snap Peas

Fast food, garden-style


Worth the wait

Waiting a little too long

Sometimes we find that we waited a little too long. Often we can still use what we overlooked for too long, like broccoli that has bolted on that one hot day or the zucchini that has suddenly turned into a baseball bat. You learn that the broccoli flowers are edible as well and that you can core and peel those large zucchini and grate them for a wonderful loaf of moist, sweet zucchini bread.











For me, the greatest gifts are the gifts of time. Time to get my hands dirty. Time to appreciate water droplets that are hanging off the leaves of my soon-to-be-mammoth sunflowers.

Foggy mornings lend a hand with the watering.

Time spent carefully searching under the giant leaves of the Black Beauties with my son. Hoping to see promises of his favorite garden side dish, grilled zucchini.

Under the giant zucchini leaves are flowered promises of grilled delights to come

Time to look and pause and let the unexpected happen. Time to grow, for all of us.

Check out some of my favorite summer recipes and preserving methods:

VAL CURTIS is the Co-founder of Bonbon Break and the creator of the sites Mental Chew and Val Unplugged.

She is a former middle school science/math/tech teacher who put her career on hold to be at home with her son and daughter on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

When Val breaks away from her keyboard, she enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, camping, photography, tidepooling, sailing and potlucks. She gets a kick out of combing the web for recipes, making them gluten free and affordable so she can eat them sharing them with her husband, family and friends. She is a tech-gadget geek who is poked fun at, but it doesn’t bother her a bit. Combining her love of photography, tech and graphics to create new, fun content for her sites quenches her inner nerd.

Follow her via Bonbon Break on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.