BABY! OH BABY! Look at all the changes in the garden. It's easy to see the tomatoes winding down as the temperature drops, but it's hard to be discouraged by that when the raspberries are coming back. When the raspberries ended their first run of the season there was predictability. We knew from years past that they would have a second fruiting towards the fall and the prophecy has been fulfilled. There are comebacks that we count on, but there are also plenty of inspiring surprises.
One of the biggest surprises for me is how effective the marigolds have been in the dodecahedron. As you'll recall flea beetles turned our collard leaves into green doilies, but with careful management, a little soapy water and the warding properties of strategically placed marigolds they are as robust as I have ever seen them. Why is Ginkgo an organic garden? Because marigolds don't have warning labels and they look a heck of a lot better than squirt bottles of insecticide.
Another amazing comeback is that of our sweet potatoes. A couple of months ago our sweet potato bed had been ravaged by a greedy critter. The leaves remaining on the plant could be counted on one hand and it looked like the whole crop would be lost. But the plant has rebounded and the five-fingered leaves are reaching out across the bed like a crowd of screaming fans trying to push past concert security.
And while you're at it, consider the fact that this fig tree was underground last winter and we had no idea if it would even come back to life. Now it reaches high above the tallest gardeners and offers up the plumpest, sweetest figs I have ever had. You're obviously thinking, "But isn't the produce for donation?" Of course it is. But you cannot begrudge us for doing a little quality control testing by offering up some delicious fruit to our dedicated volunteers.
While we are on the subject. I give you, nasturtium. This is absolutely without a doubt one of my favorite things on earth. Earlier this season most of the nasturtium seedlings died and the one or two that remained past infancy looked like the less fortunate gruel gobblers in Oliver Twist. But Boy-Howdy look at these peppery flavored lilypad impersonating leaves!
It's hard to watch the once vibrant tomato plants turn brown and drag their stakes down. They came back after an early bout with blossom end rot. The flavor in Ginkgo's tomatoes are known to stir people to religious fever. I'm as happy as I ever am when I get to explain to a volunteer or a recipient at the pantry that, "Yes, that is a tomato and it will change your life." So it's not unreasonable to want the season to stretch on. But each one is full of seeds and we will save the seeds and plant them next year and the tomatoes will come back. Until then I've got my eye on those sweet potatoes.