Sunflowers in the Gardens

This year, I planted lots of sunflowers from seed—and they are blossomed into giants! They are beautiful! Realizing this new type, I'll grow beans around and about them next year vs. creating fencing for my peas and beans (these are natural companions). The garden is an adventure: each year as I see new things grow in their ways, I am presented new ideas about how to "companion" better...or how to reorganize based on what "everyone" asks for or suggests. 

More Canning and Preserving


I have never had great luck with growing cucumbers, but this year have had a bounty crop—so...pickles! I usually make zucchini (sweet butter) pickles because—well—we all have a ton of zucchini, but this year I was happy to make the real deal (note: I'll still make the sweet butter zucchini "pickles" because they are super delicious). Both recipes come from Canning for a New Generation by Lianna Krissoff. I did the "quickie" pickles, but if you go by her favored recipe, you'll get a nice, crisp and crunchy pickle. I highly recommend her book—and every recipe I've made has been a success. Her ketchup is the super best. p.s., this year, I learned why pickling cuc's are really the best for pickling. 

Sunflowers in the Lower Field—and the Bees!

A treat? Yes...before you miss the chance, drive by the farm between the barn and Rolston Road...and check the field that Seth planted in the spring: I've seen the kale, buckwheat and blue vervain...but the sunflowers are breathtaking. Take them in while they are blooming bright and happily as they are. It's really an amazing site. Me? I ventured into the field to take some close-up photos: I knew the bees would be there too. :) Honeybees are the must numerous insect visiting sunflower crops. "The bright, large flower heads of sunflowers (Helianthus annuus and cultivars) present a nectar and pollen mother lode for their pollinators, which are bees of all kinds. Each flower head's central disc contains many smaller tubular disc flowers, each with its own supply of nectar and pollen. The showy outer ray petals help attract the pollinators. Bees go from flower to flower within the disc, becoming covered with pollen. They then pollinate other sunflowers as they go from plant to plant. The success of sunflower as a crop for seeds and oil depends totally on bees." (