It’s amazing what a steady amount of rain will do for our gardens. Even our container gardens are doing fantastic. Lettuce is ready to harvest, and I can’t wait for the first salad that doesn’t taste chemical-laden like store-bought lettuce. The broccoli I planted first is also ready, as are some of the container sweet peppers. The tomatoes are coming on fast, too. So, it won’t be long before we are munching all the good garden produce.

Our lettuce is ready to begin harvesting. I’m so glad!

Yesterday, I saw two Monarch butterflies flying around my Butterfly Weed plant. I’m hoping they’re laying eggs so we can watch the cute caterpillars on the plant. Last year we didn’t see one Monarch and this year, they’re everywhere. I’m hoping that means we’re doing something right! I’d hate to see those beautiful butterflies become rare or even worse, extinct!

With rain, our crops are booming. This is Arnie’s Golden Buttercup winter squash.

My daughter, Monique is still here and yesterday, we drove up to the Voyageur National Park, then on to International Falls, where you can look across the Rainy River to Canada. She took lots of pictures so she can show her son and daughter the beautiful places she was able to visit. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come visit soon. Meanwhile, Will is taking up the slack and weeding like mad. This rain has not only jump-started the garden but the pigweed and lamb’s quarter too. We’re not sure who’s going to win with that!

Monique has visited a good portion of northern Minnesota during the last few days.

— Jackie


  1. Garden is doing pretty well here, mostly due to my being able to get out there every day, watering, watching, and stopping problems early.
    I am wondering how to know when my spaghetti squash is ready? Is it like watermelon, where a person can see the small twizzle-y vine next to the fruit, and if it is dead that means they are ripe?
    Are all vines that way? I’m at the 100 days now for Hopi Pale Grey, and look forward to diving into one of those too! (“Pumpkin” pie.) But want to be sure it’s completely ready for harvest and will leave most on the vine until later.
    I cannot imagine doing what you two do; I barely keep up with this and wouldn’t be able to manage more items. I’m saving seeds again too, but only a fraction of the work you produce.
    If the dried-on-the-vine Green Arrow peas have any brown spots on them, are they viable or should I throw away?
    As always, I appreciate all the information you provide from your decades of experience. And your pictures, and the stories, and family! This blog is wonderful, being able to hear comments from so many others too, who believe in being as self sufficient as possible.
    Thanks from central Iowa.

    • No, squash are not like watermelons, in that the tendril next to the fruit dries up when it is ripe. Your spaghetti squash is ripe when the skin is beginning to toughen. That variety is most often eaten in a semi-ripe state so it’s not so critical as one might think.
      Let your Hopis ripen until frost threatens. Then pick them and let them cure for a month at house temperatures, not a cool root cellar. This lets some of the carbs turn to sugar and sweeten the squash as well as having the seeds become more viable.

  2. I have been enjoying your blog for years. My off grid 40 is near Emily so much of what you raise in your garden would do well here. I have done a small garden for the last 4 years while building a barn. This year I finally got the tomatoes to prosper, probably because I went all in on amending the soil. I added manure and compost and put part of a sucker (fish) under each seedling. I also started an orchard with 2 black walnut trees, 2 plum trees, and 5 Antonovka apple trees I started from seed. Now I get to try grafting other varieties on to the Antonovka. I might even live long enough to harvest some walnuts. Meanwhile keep up your informative blog.

    • Wow Curt, you’ve done so much!! But, isn’t it fun though? Hey, at 77, I’m still planting trees, from which, I hope to harvest fruit. One never knows…..

  3. So I have to ask, does Will wear a cape and change in a phone booth???, Lol just curious. Your garden looks amazing. I have been getting a little lettuce and actually made wilted lettuce for the first time from this garden spot. It doesn’t produce like I think it should. I added some lime this year. This plot was once where my Dads sawmill was and it has had lots of logs and bark on it so there is lots of organic material in the soil. I had it tested and they didnt recommend anything as far as ammending the soil. Who knows. There has been so much oak and hickory bark on it it has to be acidic. It does look more lush this year, but we are still so dry here. I keep watering along so hopefully I will get a crop. Enjoy your time with your daughter. Prayers for a good week.

    • Naw, he’s wonderful, but sometimes he becomes just another crabby old guy~! I’d recommend adding lots of rotted manure as when wood and sawdust decomposes, it often ties up the nitrogen in the area. I’m also thinking you adding lime was a good idea.

  4. We’ve contacted a company that does land restoration. Besides removing invasive plants, milkweed and bee pollinating plants are on my list. Yeah, likely not inexpensive but every little bit of conservation helps. While my are could use a *bit* more rain, neither you or I (or most on this board) are in the climate denial part of the country. The Great Lakes are great and for more than one reason.
    I’ll let all know how that first home grown BAT (bacon, avocado – not home grown, and tomato – home grown) tastes. You just can’t beat a home grown tomato. We went out to eat to celebrate a kiddos bday and I passed on tomato on my sandwich.
    And my tigers want to see Buffy/Mittens pictures (I do too lol). While I don’t dislike dogs (no animal lover does), all feline pictures are appreciated.

      • We just had two Moravsky Div tomatoes. You’re definitely right; there are none better than those first BLTs (I’m not an avacado fan.) I’ll work on getting more kitty photos on the blog. But, hey, our dogs are SO cute, too!

    • Gee, that’s too bad. We have a bunch this summer, even out on the clover in the Wolf Pasture.

  5. Your plants are looking wonderful . I am so glad that Will is able to do the extra work so that you could spend time with your daughter .

    • Me too! I’m pretty tired out from all that touristing!! Hopefully, in a few days, I’ll be back to normal.

  6. What a wonderful treat to explore with your daughter. I hope her children are able to come visit one day.
    Your lettuce is gorgeous. I really need to up my game on succession planting.
    I will research the winter squash. It looks like something I would love.
    Thank you so much for your posts.

  7. Your pictures are beautiful. I’m happy you’ve been getting rain. Here we are now considered severe in regard to drought status. I’m now day 11 post-op right knee replacement. You’re right it is a slow process to recover from that surgery. There is very little I can do presently. Fortunately, I have cut all the winter wood and done all I could with the garden before the surgery. I have 2 grandsons that have been a terrific help and we share knowledge (me the depth to plant seeds, them computer stuff that never sticks in my brain). It is sad their friends from town don’t know a tomato from a potato plant. I really enjoy their company and enthusiasm. I am blessed to have them in my life. Send some rain to Southern Wisconsin.

    • I’m praying for both more rain for you and quick recovery from your knee replacement. I know I expected to be healed up much faster than it actually happened. Maybe I beat it up too much, planting this spring? Could be. I’m glad you’ve got some help from your grandsons.

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