Friday, November 2, 2007

A Long, Slow Fall

Fall here is a strange time. It's usually still very dry, not having rained more than a tenth of an inch since May, and can sometimes be almost as hot as summer. This year fall appeared quite suddenly just after Labor Day and has been hanging 'round ever since. The trees have changed color slowly and held their colors for more than a month, as nights have been cool and we haven't had a windy tropical storm that brings down all the leaves at once. And this year the daytime temperatures have been mild, not higher than 85 degrees and often in the 70s.

But much as I love the trees, I look with misgivings at the oak in my yard. I see the thousands of leaves turning brown. I see them falling onto the patio. I see myself with a broom. I see myself picking leaves out of pots before they entirely smother the plants. I see myself asking J to schlepp yet another full can to the street. One local garden writer suggested that the leaves shouldn't be swept up, but just serve as mulch for garden beds. Were I to attempt that, I'd have to build a retaining wall to maintain a path through the yard. And I am glad Sacramento has the Claw.

The Claw is a Sacramento institution. Instead of sweeping garden debris into garbage cans for collection, Sacramentans dump our grass clippings, dead plants, and fallen leaves in piles on the street. The Claw then comes around and collects everything, taking it off to become mulch for the local parks. In the 1970s the City proposed ending green matter collection, which sparked a referendum to Save the Claw. The Claw was saved and the attempts to shift green matter collection to a tidier system have been very cautious.

Even better, the long fall has enabled me to plant lettuce. In some years the fall is just too hot for lettuce. But this year I've already begun my first crop and will start another set of lettuce pots in a couple of weeks. If I can limit the ill effects of the evil whitefly ,I will have lettuce until the middle of December. I don't try to plant lettuce right around the solstice, so I'll then put in my next crop in mid-January. If the weather co-operates, I'll be able to grow lettuce through the end of May. By June it's always too hot for lettuce and we'll have to depend on the grocery store and farmer's market.


C said...

Your Claw is a good idea and hope our city comes up with one soon or I'll be leaved in.(no pun intended)talk l8er.

annot8 said...

Fall is still a magical time for me, even after all the years I've lived here. It makes me smile to see the cheerful colors and the sun shining behind red, or yellow, or orange, or green leaves. I think it's my favorite time of year!