Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Light At the End of the Tunnel

All spring and summer, I've reveled in the garden.  I've poked seeds into the grown.  Flitted between the flowers, dead-heading here and there.  Harvested a random tomato, crookneck squash or Asian pear.  Propped up a heavy branch.  15 minutes here and there of work.  Hours of relaxation.

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


Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Autumn is definitely a quieter and more reflective time of the year...enjoy :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I've been busy pulling out the summer garden and putting in the fall plants - collards, beets, kohlrabi, spinach, kale, and lettuce. I'm also working on a lasagna bed that I hope will be ready for strawberries in the spring.

pelenaka said...

This time of year is always sparks a love hate relationship with Mother Nature. I'me enjoying the bounty but an also sad that dog days of Summer have moved on.

Athena at Minerva's Garden said...

Your sunflowers are just gorgeous!

Beth said...

Seasonal changes...nice really, I usually ready to cut back gardening by this time of year and begin to "nest".

Green Bean said...

@Tanya - I am! :)

@Erin - Good luck on the lasagna bed! I'm going to do one as well in early October. I'd like to be putting in fall and winter veggies but as of now most of my beds are still full! I need to plan better next year.

@pelenaka - I do know what you mean!

@Athena - Thank you! There is no happier flower!

@Beth - I feel exactly the same. I find myself working more and more on the interior of the house stuff and I hope this winter to actually learn to use my sewing machine!

Prairie Cat said...

I agree wholeheartedly, although there is still a part of me out there in the garden trying to ease more bounty out of my dying plants.


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