The Last Day…

Or is it?  Depending on how you look at it today is the last day of summer, or it isn’t.  Going by the meteorological system that divides the seasons by the calendar says today – the last day in February is the last day of summer.  However, the astronomical system that divides the seasons based on the location of the earth in relation to the sun, means there are another three weeks to go.   Ordinarily I like to be a bit free and easy and go with a meteorological start and an astronomical finish to maximise the season.

High and low temperatures
I find myself watching the lows as well as the current temperature, whereas in the past I was completely ignoring it.

This year I’m over it so I will happily concede the season to autumn at the end of the day.  The mornings are comfortably cooler and there is a heavy dew on the grass which is doing a great job of restoring the verdant green to my once brown lawn.  I find myself paying closer attention to the minimum temperature on the thermometer as well as the maximum one.  And while I doubt, we will see the record high of 38.5 again any time soon, the afternoons are still trying their best to rise from the below 10 degrees morning starts and are still quite troublesome at 31.5°C.   I imagine, once autumn is in full control again, I will need to start the day with warm socks and a fluffy jumper and I’m ok with that.

green tomatoes
There are plenty of tomatoes that are yet to ripen up.

So as the seasons pass over to a new page, it is a good opportunity to do a bit of a reset.  Have a fresh mindset to take into the future.  It is funny the way a moment like this is a great way to punctuate time to allow for a new shot at change.  Why it doesn’t sit logically on a Tuesday at 2:15 in the afternoon in the middle of the month is beyond me.  Or maybe it is just me and I need to have a good excuse to reframe things, in the same way 10:30 on a Thursday morning is a great time to write off a bad week hoping for a better start on Monday.

butternut squash
There are plenty of butternut squash this season for those heart warming winter soups.

So, shaking off a horrible summer – thanks to the unbearable heat, I will take stock and go back through the season and count my blessings, look for opportunities to improve, then write them down and put them somewhere I will find at the beginning of the new growing season, so I don’t forget and make the same mistakes again.  I will begin to remove the lingering traces of summer – the plants that are no longer required and to be fair to them, they are just exerting more energy than they have left to give me one more cucumber.

cucumber plant
This poor tidy cucumber plant seems to have found enough energy for a last gasp.

With the removal of the summer crops will come the starting of the new season cool crops.  I could have technically started them earlier, but I have figured my garden runs about 4 – 5 degrees hotter than the weather forecast says it is, so it would still be much too hot for many of the cool season varieties, and they’d just bolt to seed.  This is a lesson this garden has taught me.  Nature has its own sense of timing, and we need to find this rhythm and match it.  Trying to force it into my timing never turns out very well.   A good gardener is always watching and learning, and the garden is a very good teacher.

Empty bed
The bare places are beginning to appear in the garden already.

The options for cool season crops aren’t as abundant as the many choices available in the summer so this leaves empty space in the garden.  As nature abhors bare earth and will quickly attempt to reclaim it with weeds, I will sow cover crops to help cover the soil.  This will lock in nutrients to prevent them being leached away in winter rains and return them to the soil as organic material in time for them to be broken down and available for the crops next season.  I do love the lush appearance the cover crops give to what would otherwise be a mostly barren garden.

As an autumnal celebration, tomorrow I will pick my luffas.

For the first time in ages, there is a spark of joy when thinking about the garden, opportunities to make changes by starting tasks and seeing them through to completion without being driven indoors by the relentless heat.   Bring on the autumn, it is more than welcome here!

Come again soon – actual gardening will be happening a lot more frequently!

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

5 thoughts on “The Last Day…

  1. There is actually a ‘date’ for the meteorological end of summer?! Is that not variable? Besides the astronomical four seasons, which are rather subdued here, we have a ‘rainy season’ and a ‘fire season’. Neither have dates. The rainy season begins when the pattern of rain begins (which may not begin with the first rain of the season), and ends when the pattern ends (even if an isolated storm moves through weeks later). The beginning of fire season is less obvious than the end, but might be designated by the first significant fire of the year. Of course, it ends with the first significantly soaking rain.

    1. Gosh I don’t think I’d like a fire season. I think as a gardener we appreciate the nuance of seasons and the issues of trying to contain them within a date. Generally sometime within the 3 month period the season does indeed change – we will start this season with continued summer like conditions, but day by day there is a shift and at the end we will be in winter like conditions having passed through the transition season of autumn so it seems to work. : o)

      1. Fire is not exactly an asset to those of us who live with it, but the season, without fire, is quite pleasant. It does not stay very hot here for very long, and when it does, there is typically a nice breeze, and minimal humidity. Unfortunately, that is what spreads fire.

  2. Last year I managed to produce one green Brandywine tomato. This year I’m on track to have half a dozen or so green Brandywine tomatoes. Hoping they’ll find it in their hearts to ripen this time!

    1. Sometimes we just persevere long after others would give up, but the pursuit of the perfect season keeps us going and one day we will get the ideal conditions and everything will be wonderful. All the best with your ripening tomatoes! : o)

Leave a Reply