Then August hit - like a sledgehammer. Everything was ready at once. Tomatoes. Apples. Summer squash. Pears. Peppers.
As we ease into summer, the garden is beginning to wind down. The smiling yellow faces of sunflowers have faded, seeds popping through and beckoning squirrels from all over the neighborhood. I've chopped them down bit by bit, to dry out unmolested in the garage, and become chicken feed this winter.
One of my tomato plants bit the dust and the other five have begun to slow down, leaves drying out. In California, some of my tomatoes will continue to produce bit by bit through November. But they begin spitting out the tomatoes a couple at a time rather than unleashing them in a red avalanche.
Powdery mildew spots the leaves of my dutiful crookneck squash. The hardy yellow offerings shrink in size and taper off.
My pollinator garden was once a wave of color, teeming with bees and finches. Now, dried plants loll about amongst the late summer favorites - black eyed susans and orange cosmos. Nasturtium seeds are ripe for the plucking and calendula has given up the ghost to powdery mildew.
Even as I am sad to see the summer - with its endless bounty - wane, I am grateful for quieter days. For cover crop and for sheet mulch. For fewer flies around the chicken coop and for time to sketch out the plan for next summer's garden. For knitting and decorating for holidays. And I am grateful for the light at the end of the preservation tunnel.
I'm linking this post to Tuesday Garden Party and Harvest Mondays.