Around this time of year the exhaustion starts to set in. I’ve saved the majority of my seeds. I can’t bear to look at too many more tomatoes or eat any more kale, and the basil stares longingly, accusing me of neglect. In fact, the riot of vegetables ploughing into one another accuses me.

I’ve canned all I’m gonna can. The freezer is full. My trips to the garden are fewer and fewer.

After a week’s absence, I journeyed out to the garden only to discover that the raccoons had finally shown up. The squash that were supposed to keep them out of the corn had been pulled because they were infested with the vine borer. The raccoons had been pulling the corn stalks down, peeling back the silks and husks and completely eating the corn from the cob.

My beautiful corn. I thought that it needed another month, but as I began to pull the husks back from the ears, I discovered they were mostly ready. So I pulled them. I harvested maybe 15-20 lbs of corn that is now drying. Soon, I will remove the kernels, grind them up, and we will have corn flour.


At this time, we’ve only harvested five small butternut squash. We’ve one more on the vine. The rest of the squash were a failure.

The beans were beyond failure. We might have harvested one cup of bingo beans and, no lie, a total of three fava beans. Three. Favas are obviously not meant to grow in the Kentucky summer. Lesson learned.

On the whole, I’d say the three sisters was a failure. When you don’t really get two of the three crops, can you call it anything else? What would I do next year? Grow greasy beans (or some other bean suited for Kentucky’s climate), grow only butternut squash, grow a corn that is shorter by a few feet.
I may also let this bed rest, dump my compost into it for a year, and try again in earnest the next.
Is there anything else a gardener can do?