Bittersweet Sweet Corn

2017-01-24-15-16-41-smYou wait for it all summer. You watch it grow taller and taller. You marvel when it overtops your head. You cheer when it starts to flower, and you impatiently poke the ears as they grow and fatten.

Then one day–finally–the first ears of sweet corn are ready to pick. Always eaten as corn-on-the-cob, the first ears are celebrated and savoured. They cry out Summer!

They are the beginning of the end, of course.

Once the sweet corn is coming on, the green beans will start to slow down. The peas, already on their last hurrah, will give up. February’s heat and dry will begin to take its toll on all the plants.

There is still plenty of time to enjoy summer’s bounty–the deluge of vegetables won’t be over until mid-April. There is still ketchup to make, and summer soup to bottle. And lots and lots of corn-on-the-cob to eat.

But once the corn is ripe, the clock is ticking. From here on out, the garden will look a little worse each day. I’ll start pulling plants out, clearing beds, harvesting storage crops.

And in a shady corner of the yard are two trays of seedlings, sheltering from the heat and harsh sun. Waiting for the end of the sweet corn. Winter crops.

Because every season’s end is another’s beginning.

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