Tonight the beautiful Harvest Moon will be hanging like a Christmas ornament in our cloudless black velvet sky. It is the traditional symbol of a time of plenty, the time of harvest after a bountiful growing season. But things are topsy-turvy this year and it hasn't been a very bountiful growing season. Most of my spring and summer vegetable garden burned up in the early and intense heat and never reached its potential. But now autumn is almost here and the itch to plant is with me again.
My husband keeps urging me to wait. Wait until the rains come because we can't continue to run up big budget-busting water bills every month. But I don't have any confidence that the rains will come. That witch La Nina seems to be on the prowl again, threatening to steal our fall and winter moisture. So, I'm looking around for vegetables that might survive in low moisture conditions and still produce for me. At least they won't have to deal with triple digit temperatures. Or will they?
Anyway, it is time to plant an autumn vegetable garden. That big moon in the sky tells me so, and regardless of heat or drought and perhaps the prospects of another unusually cold winter, I feel the need to get those seeds in the ground.
I can start small. I have some multiplying onions that need to be divided and reset and I have one small 8' x 4' raised bed that is ready for planting - the perfect match! Vegetables that grow underground don't necessarily like a lot of water anyway, because it can rot them, so perhaps the onions will not mind the dry conditions. They've survived this summer, and that's a good sign.
Next, I've been perusing my Wood Prairie Farm catalog, a source for organic seed potatoes. I have another bed, 16' x 4' that is ready for planting. I had one of my few successful crops, green beans, there in spring and summer, so I think it should be in good shape to grow some potatoes now. Again, potatoes don't like wet conditions so they should love this bed with the little moisture I'll be able to provide them.
All the other beds in my vegetable garden will require some preparation before I can plant, but I have recruited some help and, soon enough, they should be ready for broccoli, collards, kale, carrots, lettuce, sugar snap peas. Ummm... my mouth waters just thinking about it!
The gardener's spirit is undaunted and undauntable. A new season coming is a new reason to hope - to hope that things will be different this time. After all, those temperatures will be moderating, however slowly, and the harsh summer that we've had has had at least one positive effect. The insect pests have been knocked back by it. I hardly saw any leaf-footed stinkbugs, my insect nemesis, all spring and summer.
So I will plant my fall vegetable garden and water it when I can and hope for the best. When the full Harvest Moon shines overhead, it renews my faith that all things are possible.