I didn’t think I could fit in any fall planting this year in my garden. I went back and forth quite a bit in my head until a couple of weeks ago, there was a moment out of time where I found myself cleaning up a few beds and amending the soil with some composted manure without much effort.
Often, I will make a big thing out of something that really does not take much time…it just has to BE the right time, the right moment! I watered the beds well, and waited a few days until I sprinkled a mixture of leftover lettuce seed packets over them. I did want some collards and didn’t have any seed, so I bought a 6 pack of starts for $2.39, planted them, and well, that was easy!
There is Swiss chard from the spring that is still going strong too, which is why I always will have that wonderful vegetable in my garden. So after a few weeks of doing nothing, there is so much salad that I am glad that I didn’t listen to my mind because I hate store bought lettuce; it’s expensive and it’s not fresh. Just in case you have the weather for fall planting where you live, you might want to plant something that you like to eat, because it is so worth it with little actual effort!
As a woman over 50, I do notice myself becoming lazier as a gardener. It’s as if I conserve my movements and tasks to adjust to where my body is now. I still shift into automatic, where time just is, and my body is in motion with no sense of hurt or pain or overexertion. I am just more like a slow-moving dancer, instead of a fast-moving one! If I am sore the next day, that’s Ok, since my love of gardening will never fade; and I figure that’s what Epsom salt foot baths are for!
Where I live, summer is officially over. The leaves are falling, and the color of the sun feels more golden, like honey. But the temperatures are still hitting the upper 80’s, and I still have the fans running.
It’s been such a hot summer with temperatures above normal that I am not feeling too melancholic about it slipping away this year. Twice I had friends knock on our front door to escape the heat from where they live an hour south. The night temperatures did not change much here, but where they came from, they didn’t change at all, they said!
I did have a bumper crop of basil and tomatoes, and they are still producing – incredible! And now after living here for 8 years, I have one or more of my favorite flowers blooming all the time; my goal when I first moved here when there was nothing but hard dirt!
With summer fading, I went out to take some pictures of what is still flowering. And to show you a picture of one of our 11 hens, all named “Sally”, after my Mom. It’s so funny to yell, “Sally” and see the whole bunch running fast towards me…it makes me laugh every time. Well, I hope you are enjoying the shifting of the seasons, wherever you are. Oh, and Happy Fall!
Every year, I like to pick one plant to grow in my summer garden that is different, an “exotic”, just so I can experience the taste of that particular fruit or vegetable right off the vine. So growing next to the usual tomatoes, swiss chard, lettuce, basil, carrots, beets, fennel and figs, this year’s “exotic” is a cantaloupe called Hearts of Gold. I love that name, and found the seeds in my local health food store from a local seed seller, called Sow True Seed. And yes, I do believe in buying local!
I plant everything based on the planting guide of Maria Thun’s BioDynamic calendar. I cannot imagine gardening without it. I even get my hair cut according to this calendar! If you don’t know about this, you really should try it because it really does make a difference.
So growing vertically along the fence that surrounds my raised beds was the cutest plant with yellow flowers that became little baby rounds that soon in this record-breaking summer heat became heavy and firm cantaloupes. I was thrilled to watch them grow, I was thrilled to bring it in when it fell from the vine into my hands, and I was thrilled to taste it…it was like eating warm sunbeams with a sweet taste and heavenly aroma. Ahh, summer!
Every year I plant flowers and seeds and marvel at whatever comes. But this year, something happened in that I got flowers all summer long – a first! I feel like I have reached a new level of understanding as to how a garden works. In August, I planted cosmos and zinnia seeds –and even some more summer squash and basil seeds–because I thought I might be able to extend summer and make it stay. And you know what? The first cosmos just opened a few days ago; we ate the first zucchini from that second batch; the basil is really healthy and vibrant, and the zinnias are just about to open. So I feel like I have fooled fall into thinking it still is summer for just a little bit longer…
My summer garden still brings me delight with the four o’clock’s still blooming and oh-so-fragrant. The moonflowers are amazing, and their fragrance is divine. The morning glories are incredible, and so are the Mexican sunflowers. But still, it’s all fleeting and will be gone soon. So, if you are like me and feel a little melancholic at the thought of winter, you can make it stay just a little bit longer if you can remember to throw some seeds into the ground just when you feel like summer is at its peak, so that, maybe, it will last forever.