The okra gave up the ghost.
I knew it was simply a matter of time. After all, between the laws of diminishing returns and the downward creep of the thermometer, it was a given that even the hardiest of summer-loving plants would not survive the onslaught. And so it goes for the okra, finally giving in to the inevitable. They now stand in place, like guardians cursed to remain in one location until relieved by those who never arrive, becoming more gaunt and weary as time passes.
I haven’t pulled them out of the line yet, unlike the jalapenos, from whom I took the last fruits and then took to compost yesterday. I’d like to see how long they can stand before collapsing entirely, but will probably take the shovel and dig them out tomorrow – the shovel is absolutely required, as anyone who has grown okra can vouch for the rather strong roots the plants put down, anchoring them to the earth even as they reach toward the sun they adore. I suppose they could be tested as greenhouse-type growers, but this seems counter-productive, and it would be very difficult to cover them every night and uncover them each day, since they are taller than me at this point. There is also the promise of starting anew next year, planning for which has already begun in conjunction with the arrival of the seed catalogs for next year.
Now, we settle in for what passes for winter here, but which would be laughed off as mild by our counterparts to the north. For us, though, it is no laughing matter to be faced with shorter days and languishing temperatures when for at least some of us, the warmth is what brings us seriously to life.