These lovely things are sunberries. They're relatively new to me. I don't think I'd ever heard of them before my friend Cassie started growing some in her garden last year. And, since lots of sunberry seeds went into her compost pile, she ended up with tons of sunberry seedlings this spring - which she then shared with me! I believe I planted about six sunberry plants in my garden this year. Sunberries are lovely with big green leafy plants and tiny white flowers. The berries themselves look sort of like blueberries, but they taste more like sweet tiny tomatoes.
To be honest, they're not my favorite things to eat - though strangely enough my children who usually avoid tomatoes (and blueberries, for the most part) loved the sunberries. Know what I love about sunberries?
That's right, I just love to squish them. They're full of all these tiny seeds, and smooshing them between my fingers is strangely satisfying.
And with all the seeds I've squished and then dropped into the garden, I'll probably have lots of sunberry seedlings in the Spring, next year myself!

I can't believe it's already August. The year is flying by. I was just looking over my old blog entries, at older photos of the garden. So much has changed! We've had many gardening successes. This photo to the left is a picture of one particularly lovely purple pole bean in my Three Sisters garden. I just love that photo. And I love those purple beans, even though I think we harvested a grand total of three of them so far. But the season isn't over yet! Hopefully we'll get some more. We have both purple and green pole beans, and some green bush beans as well. But I know we won't have enough for canning. What little we get, we end up eating right away. So I'll definitely plant more next year.

Here is a photo update of our Three Sisters garden where you can see the different leaves of the two types of beans, crawling up the corn stalks. We actually ate the corn shortly after this photo was taken. The ears were small, but there was no mistaking the difference between home grown and store bought corn.
We've also had gardening victories with our zucchini.This is a common sight in our kitchen. This year, I have learned several new ways to work zucchini into our diets! I wish my kids were more excited about it. My oldest son can't stand it. Even if it's something delicious like zucchini orzo, where the zucchini is shredded and mixed in with a bunch of pasta and cheese. Who could argue with that? But he won't touch it. Sigh!

Here is a photo of my cucumbers, taken about a month ago. They were growing up their little mesh trellis and seemed pretty happy. We had tons of adorable baby cukes growing all along the vine. New tendrils were sprouting every day. It was really thriving.
And then I'm not sure what happened exactly. The leaves started looking a bit spotty. Then they started looking sort of bleached out. And then, adorable baby cukes that looked like this:
Looked like this a week or so later (you can see the diseased leaf in the background):
So, no pickles for me this year. I'm so sad. We also had two Boothby's Blonde Cucumber vines. I got two cukes from them, before the same disease (fungus? mold? blight?) killed them off.

In addition to that disappointment, my watermelon vines are likewise shriveling. We had over 20 baby watermelons at one point. But only 3 actually grew. The rest shriveled and died, though we have another variety that is doing OK so far. I'm not giving up hope yet!

Check out this Seashell Cosmo. The tubular petals are so cool! The funny thing about these is that the seed packet said it came with a variety of colors. And we have had a few other colors (white and pale pink) come up - but this color is the only one with true tubular petals. I kind of wish I'd planted more of these. i had so many packets of cosmo seeds. Why didn't I use more of them? Oh well. There's always next season!

Here's an updated photo of our Three Sisters garden. The squashes along the bottom are really taking off. We even have several baby pumpkins (or are those Long Island Cheese Squash? Maybe Marina di Chioggia?) on some of the vines. I really wish I'd remembered to mark what squashes I planted where. I was so excited to get the seeds in the ground when it was planting time, and I really believed I'd remember what I put where. Oh well. It'll be fun to watch things mature so we can figure out what we actually have in this garden!

The corn has several ears now. And the beans continue to climb! They have flowers, so I'm hoping to see some bean pods developing soon. I have both green and purple pole beans planted here. When they were tiny, the only difference between the two was that the stem of the purple beans was a big darker and more purple (imagine that!) than the green beans. Now that they've climbed up the corn, the purple bean plants actually have purple leaves. The purple plants seem heartier than the green ones. Or maybe the purple ones just get more sun. Regardless, both types of beans are doing well. This seems to be a happy garden plot!

My friend Leslie has an apple tree in her yard that produces loads of fruit. Leslie isn't quite sure what to do with all of it, so she asked me if I'd like to take some off her hands. Look at this gorgeous basket of fresh apples! They're so pretty, and they smell divine. But now I have to decide what to do with them! I'm thinking some applesauce and apple butter. But in Ball's Complete Home Preserving I found a recipe for apple preserves that uses thin slices of lemon. I'm sure that probably looks really pretty in a jar - with thin slivers of lemon peel running through the apples. So I want to give that a try. I need to get to work soon, though! They might look pretty sitting on the counter in a basket, but they're not going to keep forever!

I adore this variety of sunflower! These are some heirloom seeds I purchased from
Seed Savers Exchange. They're just gorgeous. They're much smaller than other sunflowers I've grown. These end up being around 5 or 6 inches across. The petals are a very pale yellow, and there are several blooms on one stem. It makes them perfect for putting in a vase. Of course, I have never actually cut any for a vase. I just leave them growing in the garden. I'll definitely plant more of these next year. So pretty!

It's funny when I look back over the last few blog posts and see pictures of the garden. Whenever I take photos, I feel like the garden looks so good and the plants are getting so big - but then it changes so much in just another few days' time! I can't tell you how much joy this year's garden has brought me. It's so soothing to walk out in the yard, checking all the plants, watching things grow. Gardening is rewarding on so many levels. On a very literal level, we're experiencing the reward of fresh veggies! New zucchini are ready to harvest almost every day, along with small (but delicious!) yellow crookneck squash and lots of cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes are mostly from that volunteer plant that came up along the fence. I love all the vibrant colors! And I also love how excited the kids are about the garden, too. So far they're still a bit shy about actually eating the vegetables. But we're getting there.