Saturday, September 29, 2007

Wonder Weather

By this time last year, the garden gave out to the inevitability of the changing season. Not this year. We're almost into October, but still the plants are sprouting. We've got the best eggplants of the season. The peppers are going strong. The basil won't quit and the tomatoes - well, they just keep growing, taller and taller. The plants look sickly, with their brown leaves, and much of the fruit is cracked and creviced. Still, the tomatoes taste delicious - sweet and juicy. I've kept them on a diet of Miracle Grow Tomato Food every 10 days, as if to hold the fall at bay. Maybe it's working.
I heard the caw of the blue jays (yes, they fly over Manhattan on their way south) last week and I thought the time had come to say adieu to morning watering, pruning and harvesting. But our babies just keep on growing.
I guess there is a positive side to climate change...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fruitful Fall

Crisp air and chilly weather may be on the way, but don't tell that to our tomato vines. Most of them are still thick with green fruit waiting to turn cherry red. Yes, our Brandywine is done, the Japanese Trifel has given up and the Cherokee Purple is a shadow of its summer self. Still, the Donna is heavy with green globes, the Black Ethiopian has plenty of life left in it and the cherry tomato is out of control! Of course, an untimely frost will nip any new tomatoes in the bud. And shorter days mean the ripening process will take longer, making sudden death that much more likely. Still, a girl can dream of baskets of tomatoes right through October...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

eek! a worm

All summer we managed to avoid them, but I thought I saw telltale signs of green horn worms on one of the plants last week. Little black droppings that just couldn't have been soot. But though I searched under leaves for the invaders, I didn't find any. Until this morning! I was pruning the dead branches from the Japanese Black Trifele when I tried to pick off a leaf - and it turned out to be a big squishy worm! Ugh. It wiggled between my finger tips as I threw it to the ground and smashed the bugger! Splat!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

September blues

September is a bitter sweet month for an urban gardener. The plants are still rich with fruit, but the leaves are brittle and dry. Yes, we've got a new crop of eggplants hanging like globes on green stems. Peppers are sprouting anew and cherry tomatoes are still going strong. But there is in the air the knowledge that time is not on their sides. Despite the 90 degree days this weekend, a frost will inevitably come. Even without the chill of autumn, the days get shorter as the sun begins to wane. Though the tomato plants continue to flower, even they seem to know deep down that these shoots will come to naught. Instead of producing, the flowers will wither and die.
So, as I survey the glut of red fruit sitting on my kitchen counter, prepare my gazpacho and wonder how we'll eat the rest, I know that the end of summer is the end of gardening season. The wind will pick up, the cool air will come and the bounty of the harvest will give way to store bought produce.