Indian Summer & Lessons from my Garden

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Indian Summer … I love it! There is still the promise of pleasant temperatures and enough sunshine days for nature to finish ripening the tomatoes still green in the garden box, time enough to clear the drying dying plants from the flower beds and trim the bushes a final time before snow fall.  It is also the time I revisit and evaluate my gardening plan for the year; how well did the plants do,   what will I plant next year.  How will I rotate the crops? About 10 years ago I grabbed a steno book off of the shelf to capture my garden plan for that year and to keep notes to help me remember why I chose as I did, what I added, or how I rotated the plantings.  It’s a great reminder of success and failure … some year’s notations are pretty sparse which I chalk up to Garden Attention Deficit Fire Season Syndrome (GADFSS).

The garden results this year are mixed; successes are the smaller multi-colored peppers (bountiful harvest thanks to a dose of Epsom salts and water spray), basil and carrots (they are just the right size and sweetness). Tomatoes? Well, I’ve only had about 10 or so ripen so far. I went whole hog with the San Marzano sauce tomato this year rather than my traditional Roma … the San Marzano didn’t produce at all in the quantity or timef rame I’m used to  (meaning no eating tomatoes while standing in the patch) … and unless summer stays until Thanksgiving it’s a frosty frozen death for these still green tomatoes.

Almost picking day ...

Almost picking day …

Our peaches this year grew large and plentiful, beautifully colored and the smell of them ripening was drool producing. The day arrived for canning.

I woke early, I hauled the ladder from the shed, I gathered the baskets beneath the tree and reached for the first peach … AGAHST!!! there was a black oozing sore at the stem. Worms! The black oozing sore at the top and an imperceptible hole at the bottom, peach after peach, bushel after bushel.  I cried. What had happened?  I had neglected the summer worm spray (because we had never had them and I was busy and Sweetie was on fire assignment and … ) the results of that decision filled the trash bin waiting at the curb.

Notes in my 2014 garden book …  Lessons from Peaches: because it hasn’t happened before doesn’t mean it won’t and any neglect of the commandments of fruit growing will result in the loss of my harvest.

My lesson from trying a new plant without a trial run and better homework: just because someone says some thing is the new thing and everyone is moving to it doesn’t mean it’s right for me. AND sometimes it’s best to test the water before jumping in without your floaties.  Thanks to my abandoning my tried and true plants which always produced oodles of tomatoes for summer eating and fall canning for the newest hype we had no summer tomatoes or tomatoes to bottle or from which to make Sweetie’s killer pasta sauce. A very hard lesson indeed.

On an Bright Ending Note:  It is an Indian Summer Day … a good day to harvest the last of summer’s bounty before frost and snow.  Well, I’ll leave the tomatoes and hope for the best.  Ah … I’ll harvest later … I’m going biking down the Rails to Trails. The leaves have changed rolling golden and reddening down the river channel, the sun is shining and I am blessed. I’m taking advantage!

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