It’s Labor Day–the “unofficial” end of summer. I’m not even sure what that means in the garden.
Meteorologically, summer ended September 1. Meteorological Autumn begins September 1 and runs until November 30. Meteorological Winter begins December 1. Statistically these are the months that the weather is most “autumn-like.”
Astronomically, autumn begins with the equinox, which this year falls on September 23.
But in the garden, time is often marked by weather, which is another thing altogether. This year our local paper started talking about the “fall color” on August 15. It gets earlier every year. The articles about apple picking came a week later even though apples, or at least most of them, won’t be ready for about another month. Perhaps the trees are as stressed as the gardens. No matter what the weather–drought or record rainfall–they always assure us it’s going to be the best year ever for fall color. You get a little cynical after a while.
In my yard, this year hasn’t been quite as bad as last in terms of rainfall. Last year, when the rain fell, it all fell at once and then we had weeks and weeks with nothing. This year has been slightly more forgiving so I haven’t had to post photos of trees with dead leaves all over the ground–in early August.
But the best way to tell when summer has ended is by the weather. Is it still 90? Then I don’t care what the calendar says, your garden still thinks it’s summer. If you’re able, please water (I realize many of you are not able to water. For those of you that are, please try to do so responsibly. Learn from our neighbors from the south and the west. Please let’s not waste our precious water!)
If it’s cooling down in the evening, that’s great–your water will go further.
If you are taking advantage of garden center bargains, also great. Just please make sure they receive a couple of deep soakings (an inch or so a week, either from you or nature–provided you’re able, and if not, perhaps this is the year to leave the bargains at the garden center). This time of year, most parts of the country should be beginning to see some moisture. Sadly, my part of the country, as well as the west, of course, is not sharing the bounty.
Just because it’s Labor Day, the garden, and gardening don’t end. Don’t walk in the house until next year. And most of all, don’t let your weeds go to seed!