September in the Garden
September made itself known right away this year. The last week of August was warm and dry, and on September first a week of rain, wind, and colder temperatures was ushered in.
We cannot complain about the rain, however. Midcoast Maine is still in a moderate drought - conditions made worse by the fact that last summer was a drought as well. Even our significant winter snowfall hasn't been enough to sustain many wells and rivers through the summer, and many farmers are again unable to get their second cuts of hay. We've been very lucky this year to not have our spring go dry, but we are still being very cautious about water consumption.
Meanwhile the garden is continuing to feed us with basketfuls of produce every day. While some plants have ripened and gone by, new ones have come into their own. My pumpkin patch - an area of the garden that has always been a disappointment for me - has already yielded a dozen big, orange pumpkins, with more green ones still waiting on the vine.
Our tomato plants are heavy with fruit, but it is taking a long time for them to turn from green to red. We have been able to enjoy a few tomato sandwiches, though, which only make us eager for more. I have new batches of sauerkraut started and a few eggplants coming in, as well as the last of the cucumbers, zucchinis, and summer squash.
A few weeks ago we brought in our potatoes. One of my favorite harvests, it was fun to pull out the potatoes this year as we had a rainbow of varieties: purple, red, and regular yellow potatoes all of which are now stored in our root cellar. The turnips and beets I pulled out a month or so ago have been replaced by new plantings which will hopefully be ripe around the beginning of October.
We also have a long row of corn, which has not thrived quite as much as the rest of the garden but is still giving us some small ears for dinner every night.
This time of year is also excellent for a few first reflections. While I enjoy the quiet of winter to lay out the coming year's garden, it is good to make a few notes at this time while the summer's experiences are still fresh. There's things to be moved around, some plants I could sow more of and new vegetables to try. Next year's garden may be slightly scaled back since we will be doing some extensive work on our house and barn, but I still hope it will keep us well fed all summer long.
The next major planting will be garlic in October. Between now and then we will enjoy the fruits of September and start putting the garden to bed. Thankfully, with our root cellar and preservation efforts, we will be able to enjoy these flavors well into the winter months.