Friday, October 2, 2009

Time of Change

I noticed in early Sept. that sunset was coming earlier and earlier. But in late September of a wet year, with temperatures perfect--day and night--for the human body, amid the scintillating green legacy fo a wet summer, each moment in the garden sometimes seems like it could go on forever.

Now it's a week and then some past the Equinox. The sun sets earlier and earlier, still...wait! I want more day! I'm not tired yet! There's work to be done!

But autumn comes, tree by tree this year. Nearly all the leaves on the ash by the front door have turned brown and fallen. A neighbor's hackberry is beginning to glow yellow, starting at the top and working down the green branches day by day.

And the surest sign of a waning season: I begin checking the weather forecasts nightly, not in hopes of rain (enough already!) but to judge the odds of a first frost, or just the cool temperatures that basil hates. At first I gaged a "cool night" by whether it went below 60; now I realize I'm satisfied with mid-50's, elated by 60's, and dread 40's.

I start fussing with all manners of row covers, trying to maintain warmer conditions for the lucrative favorites like basil and hot peppers. Then the wind blows, and all fall down or blow off. Sigh. Someday I'll figure out a fool-proof system that works with my no-till vegetable methods?

The rate of growth on many things slows noticeably. Other things seem to grow so fast I can see them. A big challenge for me is predicting how much salad crops will grow during the next week. Will they be too big by then? Should I pick them now? Today we decided that mizuna and tatsoi need picked every week for salad greens.

Seeds germinate so quickly, with the soil still relatively warm and moist. We've been planting as much as we can, reclaiming huge areas of the garden from fallowness.

Sometimes I'm not sure how to end an entry like this. It just keeps rolling on, little details following one on the other. But that is the way of this season....

Just like any other season on the farm, I suppose.

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