Friday, September 16, 2005

It Must Be Near the End

I finally pulled the tomatoes out of the garden. I think I procrastinated because the act of ridding my garden of the tomatoes would mean that the season is coming to an end. I don't think I'm ready to say goodbye to Summer yet. This year it didn't really seem like we had a summer. It was spring, it was wet, and now the nights are getting cool and I'm noticing a hint of change in the color of the surrounding hills. Fall in all its glory is still weeks away, but I'm starting to see the signs in the fatigued garden and the faltering flower beds.

My plantings for the fall vegetable garden are starting to grow. The tidy little rows look out of place next to the overblown vestiges of summer's excess. The peppers, filet beans and black-eyed peas are still producing. There is still okra. The beets are ready to be pulled. I'll cut back the basil in the next couple of days and make pesto to store in the freezer.

I can look back at this year's garden and plan for next year. The cucumbers did terrible compared to the year before. It was the topic of conversation last week at the farmers market. Hopefully next year will be better. I think we'll stick to picklers. The cole crops failed for a second year in a row (although we did get some tasty little broccoli heads). I don't think I'll waste garden space on them again next spring. The peas did well for an early crop. I have a few ears of corn. I may try some more next year; more for effect than production because we can get wonderful fresh corn here. I need to plant it earlier and I think it will do better. I'll also have to keep on top of the squash borers and powdery mildew if I want any pumpkins. They started out magnificent, but crashed hard. I don't think I'll try watermelon again. I have two tiny ones on one vine. I've discovered that I can grow monster gourds. I'll grow more. Maybe I can do something artistic with them...

As always, the radishes, beets, and carrots did well. Although I think I'll plant less carrots as we just couldn't eat them all. One mound each of crookneck squash, spaghetti squash and zucchini gave us more than enough. I've decided to continue some tomatoes and junk others. Carolina Gold, Mountain Pride, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey and Sausage all held up well. Orange Oxheart and Pineapple didn't do as well. I'll try a few new heirloom varieties next year. A chef, who is a friend of a friend, asked if I could grow some edible flowers for her. I can plant those in the garden and the beds around the house. I have all fall and winter to think and plan and dream. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a bumper crop of raspberries and blackberries next year.

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