Am I crazy? Is summer really ending??
Today’s heat index in Southeast Pennsylvania says it will be 114 degrees out. It’s only August 13th. Summer isn’t over. It can’t be!
I am still harvesting like mad. My Bianca Rosa eggplant have given me 15 beautiful globes and there are more than that still on the plants. The Fox Cherry tomatoes are coming in so fast it’s hard to pick them (especially when you were silly enough to plant 10 of them!).
The Sicilian Zucchetta are downright frightening in their productivity and sheer size.
I’ve been giving them away, cooking with them, jousting in the back yard and leaving them on neighbor’s doorsteps in the dark of night (too big for their mailboxes).
Green beans are producing about a pint a day and my Frigatello Sweet Italian peppers are just warming up, throwing off 5 or 6 peppers a day.
And I’m still getting beets, inter-planted among the tomatoes, keeping cool and waiting for me to harvest them.
So how can it possibly be summer’s end?
It happens every year, I wake up and step outside before the dawn light and something has changed.
The feel of the breeze on my skin. The smell of the air. A tiny change in the song of the insects. Every year, there is a single moment when I know that summer is ending.
This morning, sitting on my patio watching the Perseid meteor shower (image courtesy of the American Meteor Society, Ltd.), I knew as any long time gardener whose blood runs to soil and whose bare feet crave time connecting to the earth knows.
Summer into Autumn is always bittersweet for me. My garden, this garden, will never come again. Next year, the war with Japanese Beetles and the ongoing struggle with Mexican Bean Beetles will begin again. Triumphs and defeats will eddy and swirl across my back yard.
But then there will be all that glorious, organic food flowing from my garden to my kitchen table and the tables of friends, relatives and neighbors, again.
And sunflowers, bachelor buttons, chamomile, marigolds and lemon verbena will open for the bees. Lemon balm, milkweed and borage will offer food and nectar to butterflies, wasps and beneficials.
Blueberries and blackberries will be joined by elderberries and goji berries, adding to the delicious, healthy treasures growing just steps from my back door.
And I will once again know why I garden.
Note: the image of the meteor, above, was taken by Eddie Popovits and used with the express permission of the American Meteor Society, a non-profit, scientific organization founded in 1911 and established to inform, encourage, and support the research activities of both amateur and professional astronomers