|Pumpkin Harvest: Bird Back 40|
But I'm not ready for it yet! Don't go there! Are you serious? My favorite time of the year known as summer gardening season is over? But it can't be! Seems like just yesterday that I planted those tomato bushes. It can't be gone this quickly, can it?
Welcome to my annual ritual: DENIAL. As you've heard it said before, probably on more than one occasion, it ain't just a river in Egypt.
Actually, if you checked ye olde calendar, which I'm loathe to do this time of year, one comes to find that summer gardening season ended more than a few weeks ago. It really ended with the onset of cool temperatures in the morning. That tends to play havoc with the sugar content in vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes. One can literally "taste" the end of summer.
|Whoa! Time for a Haircut!|
But when the brown, featherly leaves of downtown Sacramento begin to rain down and rest during my annual pilgramages to downtown Sacramento, I know the time has come. I'm just not ready to say goodbye just yet.
The end of summer gardening season also brings on a massive cleanup job in the Backyard of Bird. Every bush and every tree produces a little something during summer gardening and fresh fruit season. And, when the summer ends, it's time to clean up.
Unfortunately -- those tiny green waste cans do not do us much justice out here in the northern burbs. While I could really use a service like "The Claw" around my house during this time of the year -- the monster doesn't travel this far out in my direction. So -- the job of "disposing" of the summer garden usually results in stacked piles of garden rubbish around the backyard.
|Common End of Summer Sight|
Those piles will sit and wait for space to open up in the green waste can. Or, if I'm lucky, one of the neighbors will lend a hand with a half empty can. I've already learned one valuable lesson with my last green waste can, which busted into an unholy and warped cauldron that scared neighborhood children half to death.
We're not doing that again.
So -- piles here and there it is. I've also learned a bit of "patience" (aka "laziness") on the job. Rome wasn't built in a day. It wasn't also taken apart in a fortnight. Some projects can sit and wait until space opens up at the olde inn. Then and only then does it get scheduled for the "fall haircut."
The end of the summer gardening season also brings sadness. There are no more nightly visits to the Farmer's Market that we call our backyard. While some summer crops are still producing -- most are curled up and long gone. It's both sad and tough to reach for a jar of canned tomatoes that we prepped earlier in the year, rather than picking them fresh off the vine.
|Test Bed: All Played Out|
I'm just not ready to say goodbye!
Still -- the onset of Fall brings new challenges. What, for example, are we going to do with that line of pumpkins from this year's extraordinarily successful pumpkin patch pictured above? Share them with friends? Yes -- there's some of that. Carve pumpkins for Halloween? Absolutely!
But I also wouldn't be completely forthcoming if I didn't say that there's a little bit of a pumpkin pie in those pumpkins. We just might have plans for pumpkin bread. And then there's that recipe for pumpkin soup with barley that looked pretty darn good.
Short and sweet? You can lot more with pumpkins other than carve a scary face and roast some pumpkin seeds.
|Summer Garden Pile: Scheduled for Removal|
Fall is also a time to start thinking about other crops. There's garlic seed to stick in the ground for next year's garlic crop. And -- one just can't do without Tall Telephone Garden Peas, which are also planted now in anticipation of a fat spring harvest. Since you failed to remove every last potato from the ground last summer, the spuds you left behind have rewarded you with a nice fall crop.
So, no, the onset of Fall isn't a complete and total bummer. There's also time for a weekend nap in the schedule, where one can dream about next summer's heirloom tomato crop.