Late summer garden…and my new motto

How I spend my evenings and weekends right now.

Yes, I know we’re having a very dry summer but at least some garden produce, and some flowers, love the Mediterranean climate. Take tomatoes. We have TONS of tomatoes. We’re canning, freezing, cooking down, roasting…and feeding the spoiled fruit to our chickens.

Until a week or two ago, the tomato plants were robust and green, in spite of the dry weather. Seems to me I remember some old gardening expert telling me that if the plants were huge, you wouldn’t get much fruit, that some stress helped to increase fruit production. Not true this year. Big plants and a bumper crop of fruit. Cross that advice off the list of tips to live by.



And holy cow! The cleome in my flower gardens are going gangbusters. Years ago, when I tried my first cleome from seed, I worried over the young plants, gave them extra attention, nursed them along. Now, a jungle of volunteer cleome every summer and this summer has produced the most remarkable and long-lasting display ever.

Back in the vegetable garden, the corn was fabulous but came and went really quickly. The ears that went beyond prime are drying on the porch–we’ll grind some into cornmeal, the rest we’ll feed to sheep and chickens. Okra and eggplant soaking up the sun and loving it.

The beans have been a real challenge: when they finally took off, so many came in simultaneously it looks like we’ll be storing mostly dried beans this year.

It’s a new world out in the garden. The weather is just different. My gardening practices have evolved based on the expectation that north country summer weather will tend toward the wet and be bookmarked on either end by season-shortening frosts.

 So, what’s happening, good or bad, in your garden right now? (Oh, did I mention the powdery mildew that attacked the bee balm and wiped out my summer squash weeks ago?)

My garden looks kind of scraggly and tired. Or maybe I’m just projecting how I feel about it as we go into the second week of September. Used to be we’d be doing major cleaning out of the garden in early September. So, my new motto: “frost is the gardener’s friend.” I’m ready.







Tags: , , ,

4 Comments on “Late summer garden…and my new motto”

  1. Michael Greer says:

    I’m surprised at your luck with sweet corn. Mine was beautiful too but required 24 hour surveillance to guard against raccoons all night and squirrels all day. Do you have a magical fence, or a pack of hounds?

  2. Ellen Rocco says:

    I fully expected raccoon problems in the garden this summer–we had a major problem with assaults on our chickens earlier in the season. Perhaps we frightened them away. Seems unlikely. Not sure why they left the corn alone. I did nothing special this year and our dog is in at night. Some years, I put a radio in the garden and tune it to an all-talk station. This has helped in the past. (Note: political extremists seem to work best at keeping raccoons away from the corn.)

  3. Michael Greer says:

    Country and Western music works too. Critters know those people have guns.

  4. C. J. Aldrich says:

    I have so many tomatoes, peppers and cukes I can’t see straight! I can freeze the peppers but as I don’t can, I have to unload all the excess on my neighbors who don’t garden. They are probably going to start locking their doors and drawing the drapes when they see me trudging down the road toward their houses with hugh bags! So far, they are at least being marginaly polite about this. They’re probably praying for an early frost. And to Ellen Rocco; Political talk stations would frighten any self-respecting racoon! I think you’ve come up with a terrific deterent.

Comments are closed.