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A Race with the Sun

The first year we tilled Fink Farms, I input into my iCalendar all the planting dates and when the first harvest could be expected according to the seed packets.

Nothing grew as expected. Sowed seeds eschewed seeking the sun. Dozens of seeds produced two sprouts. Sprouts moped about unresponsive to their seed package PR.

This is Southern California.  Planting "after the last frost" is not a functional instruction. Heat settles in like a yenta for a cup of tea and gossip. [We're still trying to grow cabbages, which those in the know call "cool weather" plants.]

Gardening feels like a race against the sun at this time of year. My potting soil has been long gone.  My seedling pans like empty.  And the guilt mounts . . .

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Harvesting the butternut squash

We worried about when to harvest the butternut squash. There's no greening, yellowing, reddening, deepening or other particular sign of ripeness once the squash grow to a certain size. Google Extension Service suggested harvesting before the first frost.  In California, that would be the day before Never.
In Nature's wisdom, the plants told us. The huge green vines that had sprung up on their own, just turned brown and shrank back on their own, leaving six heavy butternut squashes dangling from their red and yellow net bags. (We'd strung them up to keep them away from the wetness of the earth and the mouths of the snails.) We cut them down and divided the harvest.
My first butternut squash, I simply seeded, roasted and scraped the flesh from the shell. Butternut is bland, a lovely gold color, but -- yawn -- not much flavor.  But it was fresh and home grown. That imparts something wonderful to it, if you have the stillness and focus to be aware.