With a quick glance back to my usual frost-free day of spring and a long-lingering look to my expected first frost day of fall, I got my bearings.
Where am I?
Right in the middle of the growing season. August 1st is 77 days after my usual frost-free date of May 15, and 76 days before my usual first frost date of October 15th.
Wherever you garden, I bet you are in the middle of your growing season, too (unless you’re in Australia… then I hope you are enjoying a lovely winter.)
Anyway, it’s the middle of something! I like the middle, says the middle child.
The middle can be messy, like that beautiful cake that’s done around the edges but still soft in the center. In the garden, messy often means weeds are growing quite well amongst the flowers and vegetables. Or maybe, right in the middle of the patio, there are still a few empty pots waiting to be planted up with something or a few leftover bags of mulch, giving testimony to your laziness.
The middle can be mind-blowing. You had no idea your garden would turn out that beautiful.
It all looked so bare in the beginning!
The middle can be mind-numbing too. Where do we go from here? It’s all so much. What should we do next? Well, if you lack direction, you can think of the old analogy of swimming across a lake. When you get halfway across, you may be tired and want to turn back, but the other shore is just as close now, so keep swimming forward.
So keep gardening.
The middle can feel like walking through mud; every step is an effort. But eventually, you’ll start to see and feel in later sunrises, cooler mornings, and earlier sunsets that you are walking on firmer ground with each passing day. You are a more confident gardener now!
In the middle, you’ll start to wonder how it all went by so fast and begin to anticipate the end. It’s like reading a good mystery. You’ve figured out the plot, noticed the clues, and think you know who did it, but if it’s a good mystery, you don’t want to know how it ends too soon.
But let’s not talk too much about the end of the season.
We’re in the middle now. We’ve got our bearings. We know where we are going.
Keep stepping forward, keep weeding, hoeing, and dreaming.
Some of the best days of the garden are still to come, but enjoy the messy middle for now!