Seeing the fruits (or vegetables) of my labor at the end of the summer is actually what growing some of my own food is all about. That and donning my favorite flannel shirt and listening to my favorite harvest tune, “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young. It is harvest time! I know because now the farmers’ market is all about cool mornings and perusing the pumpkins and plethora of crazy looking gourds, all with a steaming cup of locally roasted coffee in hand. I don’t grow pumpkins and gourds mainly because they take up a lot of valuable real estate plus it gives me an excuse to head down to the farmers’ market to gather up a few of these beautiful squash to put on my porch.
Despite heavy spring rains, it wasn’t a bad growing season at Commonwealth Farm. In fact, the heirloom beans flourished, and I used them in every imaginable way. There are a lot of recipes for beans! Their vines quickly traveled up the bamboo teepee and once at the top, those wily vines reached out to grab onto any available sunflower stalk or zinnia. Peppers of all sorts flourished and the kale was unending (much to the chickens’ delight).
The tomatoes and cucumbers were a different story, especially the cucumbers. I tend to really like the small pickling cucumbers that are perfect for a salad. This year the plants never really took off for some reason. The resulting cucumbers were extremely small and were the shape of tiny bowling pins, very strange but perfect for Barbie and Ken to engage in an afternoon game of lawn bowling. I’ll try again next year. The tomato crop was basically a failure except for the cherry tomatoes which always seem to do well. My other tomatoes, besides being a strange color, were constantly the victims of marauding neighborhood squirrels. There were half-eaten tomatoes left all over almost on a daily basis. On the bright side, they were a good addition to the compost bin. I got plenty of good tomatoes at the farmers market and other roadside stands. When all else fails at home, you can always go to the pros.
The flowers were another story. I think I could have easily opened a temporary florist shop in my garage if I had been so inclined. Nasturtium traveled freely across the herb garden, the zinnia patch was amazing and, after this year, I think I am in love with Dahlia’s! I will definitely plant more of them next year.
The stress of getting things to grow is almost behind us. I think the chickens are sensing that it’s about time for them to be let loose to run (and I mean literally run) rampant through the fading garden and eat what remains. They are great for helping with garden clean up, turning over the soil, and dropping a bit of fertilizer here and there.
The time of the harvest moon is easily my favorite time of the year. Some early mornings and evenings are cool enough for me to grab a favorite flannel shirt before heading out early in the morning to feed the hens or lock them up for the night under a glorious harvest moon. Native Americans also called it the corn moon because it marked the time that the corn was to be harvested. In two years out of three, the harvest moon comes in September, other years it appears in October. No matter what though, it’s always the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. This year you will see the harvest moon in all its glory on September 14th at 12:33 am eastern time. Get your favorite flannel shirt out of the closet, look up and listen to Neil Young croon “Harvest Moon” to experience the best of the season.