That’s the way to describe this season’s weather.
Week after week of days between 75° and 85°F and nights between 60° and 75°F. Nice beach weather. It’s weather that requires almost-daily attention to watering the garden. We’re frequently remembering what we’ve forgotten to water, and hauling hose or sprinkler to this or that dry spot.
The tomatoes and peppers are yielding abundant pickings every few days. Onions and garlic are in. We’ve been bringing in winter squash, and our ears of cornmeal and popcorn corn. We’ve been freezing tomatoes, drying/dehydrating tomatoes, and canning tomato sauce. Last week, an hour’s gleaning from the feral apple trees in the neighborhood yielded a bushel and a half of apples, which we’re turning into sauce. We’ve been giving away lots of produce to family and friends, as there’s way more than what us two gaunt old hogs can manage to consume.
The late summer garden is a combination of growth, lushness and abundance and of senescence and death. Bug and pest populations boom and bust. In the midst of plenty are the sure signs of the fall and winter that will come. There are still crops left to plant, but it’s also time to rip out the “done for” plants, to dig up the failures, and to start putting the garden to bed.
A garden produces a lot of material. For that bushel of corn you end up with a shocking quantity of, well, shocks. You can’t always leave things where they die. Diseased plants have to go to the burn pile. “Good” material has to go somewhere. Sometimes that’s the compost bin. That’s where the cornstalks went. As they went to the pile, I whacked them up with my father’s World War Two machete, which still has its original WWII olive drab canvas sheath. There’s nothing like a machete for whacking.
The south end of the garden has been neglected for the last six or eight weeks. Now must come weeding and planting of cover crops. The battle against the bindweed continues. I have to dig out its white fleshy roots from many square feet of soil. The stuff won’t quit! I think I may be battling bindweed for the rest of my life.
The “window” for fall crops is getting smaller. It’s too late for planting to get fall pease, unless the fall is unnaturally warm and clement. But still time for greens. Still time to get the greenhouse weeded and prepped for winter greens. Still time to haul manure and seaweed. The greenhouse needs to be rehabilitated and perhaps be made larger.
A garden never really “stops”.
Fall garlic planting time is only one month away.