Winding Down…Or Up…

By September 10, 2013 My Garden 3 Comments

Five years gardening here now and I still am never entirely clear about fall in North Carolina. In a normal climate, we’d be revving up for harvest, bringing in the sheaves, all that good stuff. (It is, in fact, the Harvest Moon next week.) The heat is oppressive, though, and under normal circumstances, we’d have another few weeks of summer before fall came along.

We are not under normal circumstances. This is the weirdest damn year most of the locals can remember.

I do feel better for having gone to the farmer’s market and talked to my local farmers. What’s happened in my garden is dead normal. Everybody’s tomatoes were meh, everybody’s cherry tomatoes went nuts and then petered out fast, everybody’s squash got the blight and fell over and died. Most people don’t even have as good a tomatillo crop as I do, and tomatillos are so rugged that they would probably grow on the surface of Mars.

It’s still kind of depressing to be under the harvest moon and have maybe a handful of grape tomatoes, a load of basil, and a bunch of beans.

The leaves are starting to turn, but that could be drought. From tropical rains, we’ve got to “normal” summer weather—humid without rain. That wouldn’t be a big deal, except that it was too wet early on and all the plants got shallow rooted and huge and now they can’t really cope.

There are little green acorns pattering down everywhere.

It was, despite the vegetable garden, a fabulously productive year in the garden. There are woolly-bear caterpillars on the weeds (there are still a lot of weeds, despite intense efforts in recent hours) and Fledgling Count 2013 hit a whopping 14 birds. At least one spicebush swallowtail survived to adulthood, and our tiger swallowtail count was off the charts. My new groundcover of choice, Hypericum buckleyii “Appalachian Sun” is kicking butt and taking names in the backyard. So I shouldn’t complain too much.

Theoretically we’re moving into fall planting season…probably…but I’ll be honest, I don’t have the faintest idea what’s going on with the weather, so I’m a bit leery of plunking down more perennials. Perhaps I will simply let the season wind down with little gardener supervision, and hope that next year is a little less peculiar.


  • Wolf Lahti says:

    Odd year here in the Pacific Northwet as well. All the fruit trees produced early and prolifically – I had more cherries and plums and apples than I know what to do with. (For instance, I got over six gallons of apple juice out of the windfalls alone, without having yet picked a single apple.) And the grape vines are bearing four times the fruit they normally do.

    On the other hand, the blackberries, which normal produce a load of fruit all Summer long decided to do everything in one month and stop. Weird.

  • Gail says:

    It was a strange weather year in Middle Tennessee, too. I’ve lost Asclepias tuberosa because of the rains and now other perennials are stressed from the late season heat and dry weather. Who knows what next year will bring. (Unfortunately, that’s what climate change is supposed to look like). gail

  • Tom West says:

    Summer didn’t really happen in Ontario. We had less than two weeks of the summer Hot and Humid, and then the next 2 months were like late spring/early fall. The jet stream spent the whole time further south.

    That said, we had humidex two days ago and wind chill today….