The Mid-Summer Garden





It is a true law of nature that when things are at their peak of vibrancy, they are just about to begin to decline.  Here we are at a point of mid summer – not solar midsummer, but the middle of the season of summer, when bugs, heat, and frequent rains kill all but the most tropical plants.  The weeds are thick and rank.  The beans, the cucumbers, and some of the sweet peppers have shrivelled up.  The dying sections of the garden are being sowed with iron and clay peas, and scythe-mowed, building fertility and helping air circulation all at once.

Every afternoon, bright, rumbling clouds line the horizon.  The occasional day without rain feels dry, despite the heavy humidity.  In the garden, the big tomatoes are withering, as the cherry tomatoes are loading themselves with sweet, red fruit.  I am picking every two days, any fruit with any color, and some of the larger green ones, to save them from the bugs and the cracking and the blossom-end rot.  The lima beans are finished, and the eggplant has spread itself out and is basking in the heat and the sun.

The first pumpkins were pulled out of the garden last week.  Usually the pumpkins are ready in August, but these were wild pumpkins, planted by themselves from some forgotten fruit of last year’s garden.  They always start themselves early, seeming to know just the right day to start growing.  I will save seed from them, for their plucky productivity.

Soon the summer garden will be finished, except for the roselle, sweet potatoes, and cassava, which grow into the autumn.  The weeds will be over my head, and it will be time to let the pigs in to clear the way for the fall garden.

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