You crave that last cucumber, or tomato, or pepper or eggplant.
But at some point you realize that the fruit is not as good, it has gone off a bit ... it's time!
My neighbor Stella, 90+ years, has lots of experience growing things. In mid-summer I noted that her tomatoes needed water and she said "No, dey don't need water no more."!!
For years at Waters our best efforts at tomatoes peaked in July and began to shrivel by the end of August, too late to have the kids harvest and taste when they returned to school.
Then one year I visited City Farm, Ken Dunne's place at Division and Clybourn,
in late September,
and their rows of tomatoes were heavy with ripe, beautiful fruit.
I asked him how this was so,
and he showed me the drip irrigation,
and they told me that they heaped compost on the base of the plants, the entire row,
2-3 times during the season,
providing a fresh burst of nutrient.
Well! Good idea.
Anyway, at some point even those tomatoes give out,
and the cukes, and zukes, and peppers,
and beans and all.
Most of them fall prey to one or another disease, fungus, blight, insect invasion.
Pull them out.
Make the decision and pull them out.
Add compost and start something new.
And for our garden,
we ask that you either burn the spent stems and leaves in the campfire,
or bring them to the commercial compost bin near the school garbage area.
Commercial compost will render thses diseased plants and kill off the pathogens because of the high temperatures they attain through shredding, mixing and turning.
Don't put those plants in our compost,
as those pathogens will survive and be spread around next cycle.
It's hot! Don't forget to water your gardens.
Maybe plant some lettuce, kale, or other Fall veggies.
It's a glorious time to appreciate the Fall blooms, asters, goldenrod, and sunflowers. Give yourself a minute to pause and take it all in.
Waters Ecology note:
If anyone has time this afternoon or tomorrow morning to tape the blank tree list to the leaf collecting envelope for 80 first graders, I have tape and space in the Conference room.