“But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head … The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.”
– Robert Finch
Pearl has beautifully cleaned her garden and cleared it away. My cousins in the midwest, I have heard, have done the same. But I always struggle to let go, to actually let summer pass into fall.
Early last week I thought the zucchini looked weak and perhaps were nearly “over,” so I watered them once more, gathering an arm-load of fruit, planning to uproot and end their time over the weekend. The very next day, however, they were alive again with large yellow blooms, shouting their worth and prolonging their stay.
Some of the garden will make it through the cold.
But these cold days and cold, cold nights are going to do all the tender plants in. Ultimately many of the flowers, including the petunias and nicotiana and zinnias, will make it through this frigid spell and will shine like stars in the universe in October as Monarch butterflies dance around them, captivating my fancy while I should be doing something productive. And if I cover my tomatoes and peppers, which, of course, I will, they will suffer some, but keep producing – almost until Thanksgiving, the Lord willing and I remember to pay special attention.
Some of the garden won’t make it through the end of the week.
But the cucumbers, the zucchini and the spaghetti squash will likely not make it past this week. Their tender leaves are taking a hit that will be irrepairable. I have already pulled most of the green beans.
It’s so hard to say good-bye.
But it is hard to let them go. It is difficult to watch the yard begin to retreat into its winter-ready clothes where once it danced merrily in dazzling color and sizzling heat. It’s hard to hear the sound of dry, rustling leaves where children once splashed in water to the frog, toad and cricket’s song of the castinets.
The harvest is dwindling.
Today I brought in 2 armfuls of baby zucchini, lemon and English cukes and some other variety of cucumber. I ate a couple of small beans right there amidst the soil and fading green. I grabbed some huge, very happy-looking peppers (where a fridge full of their colorful cousins await being used), and I grabbed the reddish tomatoes, which are too soft inside to expose to such cold, but will continue their ripening on the counter and be delectable in the next 2-3 days.
This is the September garden. It dwindles.