Thursday, October 24, 2013

End of the Summer Garden.

It has always been hard for me to let go of the summer.  Lately, i've been feeling the usual melancholy that comes this time of year, mourning the end of summer and trying to embrace the beginning of Autumn. In recent years i have felt like i enter the season kicking and screaming and not quite ready to 'let go' of the summer. It does not seem that long ago that we were in the midst of that never ending winter.  However, i'm not fighting it this year. i don't know if i am embracing the season, or just accepting it. After all of the changes we have been through this year, i do not feel as if i have any fight left in me. i am ready to let go and move on. 

i stopped tending most of my gardens back in September.  i let my main summer garden become overgrown, and the weeds (and flowers) took over. i typically clean up and replant my front garden with fall lettuce, peas and kale. This year i just let the weeds claim it.  My pea fence is still covered in dead cucumber vines and pole beans.  My redbor kale is about 4 foot tall, and covered in cabbage worms. i put a few rows of fall lettuce in my main summer garden, but didn't bother planting peas. Despite the lack of attention, my main garden continued to produce well up until the frost hit.

First frost was on Oct 19. It was a light frost, just on the grass and enough to burn my zucchini plants. So i went out and picked the rest of the beans, most of the peppers and tomatoes.  i found a large zucchini that had been hidden beneath the leaves, harvested a nice broccoli head that wasn't wormy, some leafy greens and a bouquet.  i left quite a few peppers on the plant in case it doesn't actually get as cold as they are predicting. In the past i have picked everything because of a frost/freeze warning, only to have it not get as low as predicted. Then we go into an Indian Summer and have another 3 weeks of perfect garden weather. i was kind of hoping that was the case.

However the next morning there was a heavier frost. This time it killed my only tomato plant, and burned the tops of the peppers plants. It also killed my sweet potato vines and so i went out and dug them.  Earlier this year i went out to check on my main sweet potato bed and found that voles had found them and eaten almost all of the sweet potatoes. i admit i was a bit devastated. i've been growing sweet potatoes for years and have never had any kind of pest problems. i typically harvest between 70-100+ pounds of sweet potatoes, which last us through the winter. i had to dig that bed early, because of the voles and was really disappointed with the harvest. In the picture above they are the potatoes in the basket.  Having been dug early they are quite small.  i don't have a scale to weigh, them but would guess it's only 20 lbs or so.

i had planted a few other plants in the main garden, and began checking them regularly for signs of the vole.  Although there was tunneling all around the area, somehow he never found my sweet potatoes. There were only 4 plants in this garden, but they did great.  The sweet potatoes i dug look fantastic!

Last night the predicted temperatures were going to dip down below freezing, so i finished picking the rest of the peppers and the last of the green tomatoes. My garden had turned into a bit of a jungle with nasturtium and morning glories covering everything, so  i was actually surprised how many peppers were still on the plants. Although i haven't been able to can at all this year, i've been freezing as much as possible.

i do have a few things planted for fall, but have already let it go. i am giving in to the season of change,  pulling out the wool socks and sweaters, curling up with my crochet hook, and turning inward. This is my time to slow down and reflect.

“The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.” 
― Steve Maraboli


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