August 26, 2015

Late Summer Harvest

As August advances, the sound of the cicadas and crickets reaches a crescendo, heralding the height of the summer, and its ending. It is a paradoxical time, as the fruits of autumn and those of high summer ripen at once. The main crop of Duchess of Oldenburg apples is ripe, and what says fall more than a bite into a crisp, tart apple?

As they ripen, the apples fall to the ground, making picking easy, and providing delicious meals for the local deer, and an occasional bear. The image is one of pure abundance.

In the vegetable garden, the summer crops are ripening. The corn is late this year, the ears are small and the plants not as prolific: cool wet weather for much of the summer is to blame. But I am enjoying what there is. 

The tomatoes, too, have had a hard time with this summer's weather; I won't be canning many quarts this year. I'm glad I'm not a farmer, and don't depend on earnings from the always uncertain harvest.

I baby along the peppers (Carmen) and eggplants (Diamond; from Fedco Seeds).....

....and melons, which I grow on a soil warming black plastic mulch, and under row covers, to keep them toasty during those cool northern summers. It's especially magical to grow melons in this short season climate. This golden beauty is an Orange Honey melon, a honeydew variety.

The seedheads of dill plants are blooming like yellow starbursts, soon to form seeds.

The dill seeds are for me, the sunflower seeds––here a head partially eaten––are for the birds. I love seeing the small birds flitting among the sunflowers, hanging from the laden heads, eating their fill.

And then there are the flowers: the hydrangeas that in late summer are can be picked and dried for winter bouquets. The Annabelle hydrangea turns from white to green when it is ready to be dried.

The blooms of Hydrangea paniculata glow pink as they mature. Flowers, fruit, vegetables, all honor the fecundity of summer.


  1. It sounds and looks like you have had a good summer despite the rain. I wondered where our rain went.

    1. The summer was saved by a week or so of summery weather, hot but not too hot. On Tuesday we had more pouring rain: 3.8 inches in 24 hours.