Late August in the Garden

With the days growing shorter and the nights getting cooler, the season is shifting into fall.  South-eastern Michigan’s growing season is nearing its natural end.  There’s still a lot of life in my garden, though- loads of kale and tomatoes, swiss chard, peppers, cabbage, pie pumpkins, squash, eggplant and some carrots slumbering underground.  I took some photos this evening as the sun was setting, as soon I’ll be harvesting and clearing out my rented plot in County Farm park.

Already I’m seeing some of my neighboring gardeners abandon their plots, allowing them to be reclaimed by weeds and grass.  It’s sad to see some produce go to waste on the vine, but Project Grow, the group managing the community gardens, has put out a covered bin to collect unused produce to be given to Food Gatherers.

The Girasol Sunflowers have been quite prolific.  Their smaller flowers range from red to yellow, with multiple buds on a single stalk.

I don’t recall the name of the varietal of small yellow tomatoes here, but they’re deliciously sweet.  Their size is a midway between a plum and a grape, and their flavor stands as a clear reminder that technically, tomatoes are classified as a fruit.

This red cabbage, photographed nestling in its leaves, was harvested just after I took this photo.  The loud, crisp snap it made when I separated it from its stem surprised me a bit.  It was the first time I’ve ever really noticed the scent of fresh cabbage, all vegetal and clean.  Afterward I uprooted some dill that had gone to seed and I felt like I could have spent a long time savoring both smells, so distinct and engulfing as the sun was setting.

The above top-heavy behemoth is an elderly Russian Mamouth Sunflower, it’s head so heavy with seed that it’s slumped over with a bad case of osteoporosis. They were early bloomers- beautiful in their youth, but puttered out in the hot days of early August.

Tomorrow I’ll begin clearing out the squash and pumpkin area of debris.  There has been a fair bit of squash bug damage resulting in the loss of some of the vines.  We’re to have our plots entirely cleared by mid-end of October so they can till the field before winter.  I’m going to miss walking there with my dog, and walking home with a heavy sack of sun warmed vegetables.

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