I like the month of September. I really liked this last one – ridiculous heat early in the month broke with gray clouds, rainstorms that wake you up in the middle of the night and mornings wishing you hadn’t left every window open. Sweatshirts first thing in the day, succumbing to being thrown off at recess and forgotten on the playing field (don’t really like that part of September).
No widespread hard freezes, I just picked the last of the eggplant Tuesday (if someone has another idea for eggplant other than parmesan, please send it to me) and the dahlias have continued to bloom since the middle of the month.
But October is here now with dark mornings that aren’t conducive to getting out bed and mornings of seeing your breath. We ached for these days way back in the belly of summer, but now I would barter for another week of warmth and for summer to just dig her heels in a bit more.
October should bring Chicago Cubs baseball playoffs games – this year, it isn’t – and Broncos winning games on Sunday afternoons – they aren’t showing any signs yet. But it does bring the annual U-Pick at the Southwest Colorado Research Center on Saturday, Oct. 5; the 11th annual Apple Days Festival on Sunday, Oct. 6; and The Garden Project’s One Garden at a Time fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 11. Yes, this is all the culmination of a growing season that was short for many, dry and buggy, and full of fungi for lots of growers – but hopefully rewarding enough that we try it again next year.
The folks over at the Dolores County Extension Office will open the research orchard Saturday to pick apples and pears. Beware: Supplies are limited this year, so get there early (the event starts at 9 a.m.) with your boxes or baskets and cash or check in hand. Directions can be a bit confusing. If you are interested in attending, call (970) 677-2283. All the proceeds go to the orchard, so even though you’re getting a steal at 75 cents per pound, it goes a long way.
Apple Days is the party at which we press apples and watch the kids play in Buckley Park. Ever since we helped start this event – and fruit gleaning activity – the first Sunday in October has always been one of my favorites. Come down around 11 a.m. and stay for the day. Eat a bratwurst and support the Needham Garden; taste local cider from Fenceline Cider; dance to High Country Hustle; and celebrate the glorious simplicity of the apple.
And then if that’s not enough, support The Garden Project’s fall dinner Oct. 11 at the Glacier Club. As they like to say, “celebrate gardens, greenspace, education and community,” while eating local farm-fresh ingredients. If you want a ticket, visit www.thegardenprojectswcolorado.org and get one before they’re gone.
Fall will soon turn to winter, and then we’ll sleep until our hibernation is broken by the first seed catalog. Yes, our hearts can get broken and our hands bloody, but gardeners do it all over again and again. I am hopeful for your last eggplant, your first successful dahlias or an apple that is as crisp as these October mornings.
Darrin Parmenter is the director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6464.Darrin Parmenter