It is 7:30 pm. The shadows are long across the field. There is a chill ... yes a chill ... in the air. We are a little less than halfway form solstice to equinox and already I can feel fall stalking me. I am always caught off guard by the shift of seasons. I mean with only 4 harvested tomatoes, how can one be thinking about the end of it all? Sure, there will be plenty of blistering hot days ahead. But the build UP is slowly turning toward the build DOWN. Some of it is the weight of the harvest itself. The garden can only sustain so much vertical rise before the weight of the fruit begins to topple into the pathways and cause the bean trellises to lean precariously in the wind. But some of it is that the plants are spent. The zucchini are no longer turning out the way they were. The artichokes have had their run for glory.
Each season I watch for the turning point ... the point at which the garden begins its natural decay. All season plants have been pushing upward ... escaping the soil and journeying UP against gravity, and now ... slowly ... it is gravity that is winning.
That is why root crops are the crops of fall. Leeks and rutabagas ... carrots and parsnips ... they are using gravity to their advantage.