Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Survival of the Fittest

When the school year cranks up, certain sacrifices must be made.

The hours I spent slaving over the pristine, weed-free garden of June and July have been replaced with homework help, early bedtimes, and general post-learning chaos. Late August transforms my backyard paradise into a field of dying/dead plants, overrun with rambling weeds. A wasteland where only the fittest can survive.

Basically, may the odds be ever in their favor.

And that is fine with me. Our summer production was impressive, especially the millions of tomatoes I picked. There are a few green tomatoes that still cling to dying plants, but they're pretty much done. We did freeze some for the winter months and we have a jar of salsa that features our harvest. Good enough for me!

The cucumbers and peas are long gone. There may be some green beans smothered beneath the weeds, who knows. The bright yellow sunflowers that once stretched past my husband's head are now bent over and tired. Their sunny color is replaced by darkness and their faces look like they've seen some things...

This year Mother Nature reserved her hottest days just in time for my kids to sweat buckets in the car line. That means the two crops that live for the scorch of the sun, peppers and okra, are doing fine. The pepper plants look the worse for wear, but every time I peek there's a fully grown bell or jalapeno waiting to be picked. We have even frozen several this year to use for stew and chili. Our freezer finally looks like we have a working garden! As for okra, I think we've already chopped five quarts and it's still going strong.

PS: Last week we fried okra from September of last year that was processed in this way
{chopped into bite-sized pieces and thrown in a freezer bag} and it tasted like we'd just picked it.

In addition to the death and despair, there's a healthy amount of {horrifying} bugs in the garden, which helps my "may the best plant win" attitude. If I had a dollar for every foot-long grasshopper that landed on my shirt in recent days, I'd have a solid two dollars. And that is too much money.

I'm more cautious when entering the weedy garden these days, but I do make it out every so often to cut okra and see if my eyes catch anything else ready for harvest. My chickens have been enjoying all the forgotten tomatoes, too. Now if I can just convince them to go after the grasshoppers...

Any other growers develop this laissez-faire late-August attitude?
Have a lovely Wednesday, y'all.

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