It’s early July and much of the garden is already beginning to produce fresh produce for our table.

Straight-from-the-garden lettuce is a perfect delight — it just doesn’t get any fresher. Add a few bright red radishes and the tops of some of the onions, and we have an almost perfect salad.

Missing, of course, are bright red tomatoes. Those won’t be ready for a few weeks yet, unfortunately, unless of course you started them really early and carefully tended them. Tomatoes are generally the major crop for mid-August, at least in my growing zone. They are worth the wait! When mid-August arrives, I am very busy peeling and canning as many jars of tomatoes as I’m able, as well as enjoying them freshly sliced and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, there are many actions we can take to assure a bountiful harvest as the growing season progresses.

Side dressing some of the garden vegetables with manure or fertilizer produces a larger crop (except potatoes), making sure the potato plants are mulched well so they won’t turn green in the sun (I use newspapers covered with lots of hay), and planting second crops of lettuce and spinach are among the many actions we can take to ensure plenty of fresh vegetables well into autumn. Having fresh greens in a salad in October is one of a gardener’s joys.

The first of the potato crop, the tiny ones, will be ready in a couple of weeks. I always pull two or three potato plants, long before they are ready to harvest, to enjoy the robust potato flavor packed into the small tubers. Potatoes never taste any better than these that are harvested very early. I also top the cooked, tiny potatoes with butter, salt and pepper, and a few sprigs of bright green fresh parsley.

Green and yellow beans are among the first vegetables ready for the table.

If anyone is growing a vegetable garden for the first time, beans are the best thing to plant. They grow quickly and are virtually always successful. They taste great, too! In addition to serving them cooked with salt and pepper, and a little milk (I guess this is a New England tradition), the really small ones make great additions to summer salads. I always can beans, too, for serving during the winter months.

When green or yellow beans are fresh from the garden, I often saute them with slices of fresh garlic and salt and pepper, and use the result atop pasta.

Those who grow garlic can begin harvesting the bulbs in a couple of weeks.

Although they can be used fresh, they have the best flavor if they are hung to dry for several weeks.

Meanwhile, wildflowers are now appearing almost everywhere. Daisies, purple clover, buttercups, morning glories and sweet-smelling hawk weed are just a few.

A small flower garden I maintain in front of the house is now producing lovely purple and white pansies. I didn’t plant new ones this year; instead, last year’s plants reseeded themselves.

Thinking ahead, the blackberry, raspberry and elderberry blossoms are appearing everywhere they are planted. Although it will be a few weeks before any of these three are ready for picking, their blossoms promise a good crop along with their sweet aromas right now.

This year, my husband and I are experimenting with something entirely new.

In the compost pile, we found a peach pit that had germinated and has one leaf right now. We have it in water in a glass on one windowsill. Whether it grows or not, it will be fun to see what happens.

Also this year, we installed a four-foot-high fence around the garden, hoping that this will keep my goose flock out of it. My feathered friends like nothing more than to descend on a row of lettuce and devour it in a matter of minutes. It’s happened in the past, leading to the installation of a sturdy fence. Although fencing in a garden won’t keep woodchucks and other rodents out, it does deter deer who are looking for a tasty snack.

Those voracious potato beetles are already on my potato plants, so lots of hand-picking is required. We set out milky spore a couple of years ago which, so far, has kept most of those horrible Japanese beetles away from the garden.

So for right now, in early July, some things to think about:

* Replant lettuce and spinach; enjoy what has grown in a lovely, never fresher salad.

* Keep a close watch out for insects and rodents, and take steps to keep them away from plants.

* Side dress the growing plants.

* Pick off potato beetles.

* Keep a close watch out for rodents and deer, and take steps to deter them.

* If you have pets, keep them out, too; our wonderful golden retriever, whom we no longer have, loved to go into the garden and help himself to anything that appeared tasty.

* Use non-toxic insect deterrents. For example, sprinkling salt around, but not touching, plants helps prevent slug damage. Ashes strewn around, but not touching, plants also helps.

* Enjoy all the flowers and vegetables that are beginning to appear.

* And remember: This magical earth of ours wants to produce, and if certain steps are taken, will do so in abundance.

Eileen M. Adams has been gardening for decades. She continues to believe that it is amazing that tiny seeds can become great plants. She may be reached at [email protected] com

Lettuce is already providing fresh salads from early summer gardens in Maine.

Potatoes have already sprouted. The author always pulls two or three potato plants, long before they are ready to harvest, to enjoy the robust potato flavor packed into the small tubers.

Pansies reseeded themselves from last year.

Comments are not available on this story.