Summer is in full swing here in Wasilla and the mad dash to get all of your summer projects completed while the weather is nice out, does not leave much time for writing my blog. During our long winters there is simply more free time indoors. During the last few summers we have had plenty of cool rainy weather to keep us inside also. This year we are having one of our fantastic, warm and sunny Alaska summers. It is weather like this that causes us to proclaim our summers can be the best anywhere on earth. The reality is that perfect summer weather does not happen every year. There is a garden motto in Alaska - "There are bean years and there are lean years" showing that our climate in most areas can be very different from one year to the next and can greatly effect productivity. That variability has severally impacted commercial agriculture which requires a more consistent climate with a predictable growing season. We had the latest spring warm-up this year that I can remember in 22 years living here. There were 2 late snowstorms in May with temperatures hovering around freezing much later than usual. This delayed transplanting outdoors and my seedlings suffered from extended time in small pots waiting for the soil to warm up. Then summer came along very quick. One week it was freezing and the next week it was 80 degrees. The sunny dry weather has continued this year and all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope it does not turn cloudy and cold any time soon. Many gardens are not as mature as they might be do to the delayed spring warm up. My broccoli was looking very good, but it was not as mature as usual for this time of year. It was just beginning to produce heads and was probably 2-3 weeks away from harvest.
As I have yet to put up any kind of garden fence I am at the mercy of the local moose to stay away long enough for my garden to mature and my vegetables to ripen. But sadly, I am fighting a losing battle. Once again a moose paid a visit to my garden the other night just when I was going to bed. Luckily I caught the young bull moose in the act and quickly grabbed a string of firecrackers to scare him off. The sad fact is that once he has learned where to find tasty fresh vegetable to eat - he will return and continue to munch his way through almost everything. I can not stand guard 24 - 7 so he will be back when I am away from home or sleeping. That is just one garden pest that I have to live with until I spend the money to put up a sturdy electric fence. The cost is something that I will have to work out among the many other home improvement projects that are waiting to get done.
So I have learned to expect this to happen every year, but it is never a pleasant experience. I enjoy gardening and I will continue, despite this, and eventually I will have a sturdy electric moose fence. It is just a bump along the road of life. The young bull moose was a magnificent sight to see and I feel lucky to live in such a place that seeing one up close is not unusual.
I did pick my first greenhouse tomatoes this week and had them for dinner. They were more delicious that I can describe here. Nothing is better than fresh ripe tomatoes. Red, sweet, and juicy - right off of the vine.
So there is some good garden news along with some not so good garden news today. That is the way it goes most of the time here in Wasilla. You have to learn to roll with the punches or you would drive yourself crazy when things don't always turn out the way you would like.