Apocalypse Summer

I’m not going to lie – August and September were extraordinarily challenging months. The garden continued to be an essential place of respite from the oppressive heat, freak lightning, a 3.5-day power outage, nearby huge fires, friends’ homes burning down, worrying about our home burning down, interpersonal stress about all of these things, frustrated attempts to continue working normally amidst all of this with no office to escape to, and a non-stop news cycle bearing nothing but doom and gloom and chaos and confusion and rage and seemingly unanswerable questions about the state of the world.

I’m going to pass on recounting the extreme stress that we experienced during the first few weeks of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. The fires burned through areas we know well, parts of our Santa Cruz Mountains home. My heart hurts for the hundreds of households who lost their homes to the fires, not to mention the land and the creatures whose worlds have also been upended.

For several days, we watched the billowing smoke from our deck.

At this point, our summer garden has come and gone. The major success of this year’s garden was our non-stop crop of cucumbers. Last year, our one cucumber plant produced a mediocre harvest. I tripled down this year with three plants. I got so many more cucumbers than I bargained for–way too many for a household of two, one of whom doesn’t really like cucumbers!

The first days of August always bring the first varied harvest. I’ve now learned not to expect tomatoes until August. Like clockwork, we picked our first ripe cherry tomatoes in the first days of August this year.
Mike grew a successful crop of potatoes!
We also grew Honeynut and Tokyo Blue squash. We grew one Honeynut plant on a trellis, which worked well and gave us a great crop while using relatively little space. I’m not sure we’ll grow the Tokyo Blue again. The plant was giant and sprawling, took up so much space, and only produced three squashes (only one of which is pictured here). I have a feeling that hand-pollination could have helped to yield more squash off of that plant, but I’m too lazy to do that!