No, this isn’t a play on the “Barefoot Contessa”, though I enjoy her way with cooking and the kitchen (and she calls herself ‘Ina Garten’, which may itself be a stage name…). This is nearing the end of the growing season in my area of the sultry South and it’s sad. Saying goodbye to all those lovely plants that nourished me with bountiful goodness through the summer- 3 kinds of tomato, one heirloom; squash which didn’t do so well but gave a herculean effort, zucchini which well made up for what squash lacked, okra which is still actually bearing, as are the eggplants. I miss tending to them, picking off the squash beetles and spraying the white flies. Mostly I miss their sun-kissed sweet juiciness and flavor. I did lose all the collards to the cabbage moths so for winter I have planted 6 more, along with spinach and winterbor kale. I hope to have a few Brussels sprouts and with a little luck some Swiss chard, too.

The best garden I ever had was in a small town in northwest New Mexico, west of the Rockies, Continental Divide and 30 minutes from each of the state lines of Colorado, Utah and Arizona. So the growing season was short, Memorial Day to Labor Day, and when it was over it was with a killing frost. But what an abundance of everything I planted! There’s no humidity so no bugs. People stopped answering their doors I gave them so much squash. They flung them open though when the cantaloupes ripened. I really enjoyed that garden, well into winter because I froze so much of it. But here, despite the warm and longer growing season I did not see so much. And I had to outsmart the deer so I put the tomatoes in planters on the deck. And we had our year’s quota of rain by the end of June. Then just heat, life-sapping humidity. Vegetables don’t respond as well to city water as they do rain.

So now I have the winter vegetables in, some plants, some seeds. We’ll see how it does.