We've reached that time of the year, the time when the summer has so parched the soil that even the weeds look ratty and lackluster:
When we've left off with diligence and mildew overtakes the vines:
When the aphids have finished slaughering the nasturtiums, and the lettuce has all gone to seed:
And yet the tomatoes remain stubbornly green:
And the watermelon, smaller than a tennis ball, may never come to the sweet glory we expected last spring when we lovingly put the little plant into the cold earth:
Yet not all is autumnal sorrow and despair. The everbearing raspberries are living up to their name, still producing enough for each morning's yogurt:
And the everbearing Tristar strawberries are contributing their share, too, and will probably keep going well into October:
A surprise vine popped up in the front garden, and I'm still not sure what we have. Mini-pumpkin? Gourd? Gourds seem likely, since some went into the compost last year, so there could be seeds.
The cranberry beans kept getting mowed down by slugs and bugs earlier, but enough survived to yield a small crop:
Shelled, they'll produce at least one good beany meal, and still have some left for planting next year. I'll make a point to save those very red ones for planting:
In spite of the load of work and the drag of autumn's ennui, I got the beds in the new garden cleared of everything that had gone to seed and all the leggy, tired pansies, emptied the compost bins of all good compost and spread it on the beds, and tucked everything in for the winter. I had lettuce and kale seedlings under grow lights indoors (about the only place I can get anything to germinate this year -- what's up with the soil, I wonder?), and put those out into the garden for winter crops. The lettuce went under the cold frame, and the kale out in front of it.
With any luck, I'll have fresh greens for the holidays. By then the plants may be finishing and I can start a fresh set of seedlings for the cold frame. January and February will bring cold weather that will slow them quite a bit, but I can usually get new lettuce by April.