Second Summer | 30 Days of Writing
Second Summer has arrived. We still get that tease in the early mornings that perhaps we can pretend it is fall. That has been quickly dissipating, though, as the day warms up.
In August I decided to get a head start on some fall veggie crops and sowed kale and cabbage seeds, which all germinated. In my head I envisioned planting them all out mid-September and by October there would be great growth with the cooler weather. I went ahead and transplanted the kale and cilantro seedlings on Sunday evening and am hoping that adequate mulch and frequent waterings will get them through the upcoming high 90s, possible 100*, temperatures. I can already tell this is probably yet another year in which I should have tried fall tomatoes. I had finally given up on fall tomatoes only for last year to be a stellar year for them. Ah, well.
Tonight I may dare transplanting the cabbage seedlings, some of which will likely be adjacent to the roselle plants which would offer shade from the oppressing Second Summer sun. I can only hope in six months time I will be harvesting a head of cabbage or five to make these efforts worth the while. The weeds are overtaking the pathways out there again. Who has the time do manage it all? We certainly don’t. Seeing how intensively some gardeners work on their own spaces, it exhausts me. Then I have to remind myself that a lot of these folks, many of them women, don’t work outside the home and thus can spend hours every day maintaining it all. When we talk about gardening, especially with native plant gardening, no one talks about the maintenance required.
Second Summer is perfect for mid-September trips to the beach but not quite so perfect for those of us ready to decorate for fall. That said, I will probably pull out a few fall decorations tonight to go with the lone pumpkin I bought at Marshall’s a few weekends ago that sits on a small table in the dining area. Forest will probably want to get the Halloween décor out but I always try to hold off until closer to October for that. And so we will embrace Second Summer and hope that Real Fall will arrive here in a couple of weeks.
These “Second Summers” are scary as fuck, IMHO. Each year gets worse, and the climate overheating is escalating much faster than any models have projected. I think we gardeners have an upper hand in that we can at least try to modify what we see is happening. Most non-gardeners are completely clueless. And that alone, is just as scary.
The maintainence is what gets me too. Every summer we get behind. I wish I had hours a day to work on the garden. One of the bonuses of COVID times was I was home and listened to a lot of meetings outside while pulling weeds.
Having worked outdoors for thirty-some years on the Texas coast, I’m well aware of the consistency of our ‘second summer.’ The worst heat of the year always is after the first cool front, when everyone (1) remembers what fall’s really like, and (2) remembers that it takes a while to get here. That’s all right. The front’s on the way, and next week’s highs look to be in the 80s. We’ll take what we can get!