As far as gardening is concerned, this has been one difficult summer.
Monsoon rains in the spring were followed by long, dry spells in the summer; with weeks of prolonged heat that reached an index of 107. Extreme heat tends to retard plant growth while bugs seem to revel in it. There was no shortage of cabbage worms, aphids, and Mexican beetles to enjoy the fruits of my labor; while mosquitoes enjoyed their own bloody buffet every time I attempted to tend to the garden.
Poison ivy has no problem with heat or bugs. The miniature three-leafed demons seem to pop up overnight between every other plant; creating never-ending battle to reclaim the garden. Anyone who saw my arms, legs, and even face this summer would instantly know the victor.
The most valued plant in my garden, the tomato, started off promising. Hearty plants at the beginning of summer were loaded with small green fruits, auspicious a bumper crop. Then came the plague of squirrels. Every tomato that started to turn orange was found half eaten by the furry, chattering beasts that live in the woods surrounding me. The squirrel population seemed to have hit epic proportions this year, with one neighboring farm claiming to have trapped over 51 this summer. Gardens in the area were completely decimated. It wasn’t uncommon to see a grey blur dashing out of the garden with a tomato in its mouth. To add insult to injury, I even had tomatoes falling out of trees, narrowly missing my head.
But summer is almost over. The kids started school today and I am reminded that autumn will be here shortly. Like everything else in life, gardens have their ups and downs too. We can choose what we want to plant and the methods in which we want to grow our food, but we cannot control Mother Nature. The cycle of life continues and we can only move on and hope for a better season next time.
And so I have cleared away my spring and summer crops and along with it the frustration of a poor harvest and have refocused my efforts on having a fruitful autumn.