An Early Harvest

We’ve been inundated with smoke and high temperatures, and nothing in the garden has gone as I’d expected. Today the smoke is much lighter, so I went out to water and see what had happened during my indoor confinement (yes, the smoke was so bad everyone was advised to stay inside). The garden almost seems like it’s being smothered; things are withered, but not from disease or lack of water–more like hopelessness. I know I’m projecting, but if you’ve ever seen a plant that looks . . . discouraged, then you know what I mean.

With more thick smoke expected in just a day or two, I thought I might harvest what I could right now. The above basket is my haul. I left a lot of plums on the tree, simply because I couldn’t reach and the vaguely smokey air was starting to sting my eyes. So, just enough for a small jar of jelly.

I also got a lesson in viticulture (grape growing) between the last two years and this. In both previous years I cut back the vine early in the growing season, and consistently trimmed it over the entire summer, hoping to encourage it to devote its energy to grape production–and it worked really well. This year I was much more moderate in my pruning–I let it put its tendrils out everywhere–and as a consequence there are few grapes–but that’s okay. I felt it needed some kind of rest, and we ended up with far more grapes than we needed both previous years. And anyway, I like to leave some for the birds.

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