By Sandy Oliver
Plant more lettuce. Plant more spinach. Pick the blossoms off the rhubarb so it will keep sending up leaves. Thin calendula. Plant out the dahlias, for pity’s sake. Snap sprouts off the potatoes still in the cellar.
These and more are on my June “to do” list.
Plant potatoes. Plant corn, if it ever warms up. Ditto squash. Ditto melons.
Harvest rhubarb and make crisp.
Get more dryer sheets to put in my hat to keep the blackflies away when I am gardening. Harvest and eat my fill of asparagus. Harvest and freeze asparagus.
Plant the tomatoes out in the hoop house and rig strings for the indeterminate tomatoes to climb up. Plant peppers there, too, and eggplants.
Every sunny day, go outside and weed and mulch. Water the hoop house because even though it has been rainy, it doesn’t rain inside the hoop house. Duh.
Attend Eva Marie’s graduation. Ask Melissa what I can make to bring to the family and friends gathering afterwards. How can it be that she is old enough to graduate, when she was three years old so recently?
Weed the garden and thin the lettuce and spinach I planted earlier.
Harvest rhubarb and make compote.
Gather dill to dry before the plant begins to shoot up to blossom. Plant more dill. Harvest tarragon to dry before it blooms. Do something with the eight remaining beets in the cellar. Beets with blue cheese butter, perhaps.
Rejoice that the cilantro has self-sown so plentifully and make Cowboy Caviar out of black-eyed peas, corn, red peppers, jalapenos (not too many, because I am, after all, a tender-tongued Yankee) with a sweet and sour sauce over it, and lots of chopped cilantro.
Take the WWOOFers to the ferry, go home and feel sorry for myself. World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming volunteers Chloe and Deanna, cousins from California, worked hard, and were lots of fun to be with. Plan to miss them.
Harvest rhubarb and make more crisp because it is only once a year.
Go to another special town meeting to discuss the pros and cons of asking the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife if we can keep on having special hunts to reduce the deer herd even though we have had one for each of the past three years and the recent pellet count shows we have roughly the same number of deer as ever, or will by the time Bambi is born. Start a pool to bet on IF&W saying yes or no.
Transplant the monarda (bee balm) that my neighbor Barbara gave me. Bees love it and if I plant it in the vegetable garden, I will promote pollination. No pollination, no dinner.
Take advantage of sunny days to do laundry and hang it out on the clothesline.
Harvest rhubarb and make rhu juice with the steam juicer. Really good with ginger beer. Even better with a shot of rum and ginger beer.
Try to find a young sugar maple to plant inside the new garden fence. Look for it in a spot too close to a house or dog or inside someone else’s electric fence because the deer eat all the young deciduous trees they can find. I don’t blame them. Who’d want to eat cat spruce?
Get out the porch chairs because sooner or later it will be warm enough (I hope) for Toby and me to sit on the front porch and have a gin and tonic after work and before the news.
Be glad that so many of our summer friends are returning and look so hale and hearty.
Toss the unidentifiable sludge in the bottom of a storage bucket in the cellar which was a vegetable that never made it to the kitchen during the winter. Figure out how to use the frozen peas still left from last summer because the new peas have begun climbing up their pea brush and it won’t be long before we’ll have some to eat.
Harvest rhubarb and make upside-down cake.
Pay estimated tax on June 15. On the 30th, go to the mainland to get my hearing aids so I stop saying, “Excuse me? Can you repeat that, please?” And so I can hear when pasta or beans boil over on the stove, but mainly so I can hear birdsong again.
Try to pause long enough to observe the million shades of green we see in June. How can one color vary so much?
Clean out the chicken coop to make it more hospitable for three new Black Australorps chicks. Dig up a couple black currants to take to a friend in Lincolnville. Grieve the five-year-old peach tree that voles girdled in the deep snow this winter.
Plant carrots, more beets, chard, radishes, cabbages, lettuce and spinach again. Slice and freeze onions that are trying to sprout. Try to figure out why the garlic looks so awful this year.
Gosh, June is busy.
Harvest and freeze rhubarb.
Sandy Oliver is a food historian who writes, cooks, gardens and stays very busy on Islesboro.