November in the garden
Cold rain hitting the top of my head
Reminding me that I forgot my hat.
The smell of the leaf pile,
The steam from the middle of the pile.
I wonder if the maple leaves
Will decompose by spring?
How many gardeners harvest the last of the fall veggies and then just turn their backs on their gardens and walk away till spring? I can’t imagine doing that to my garden, after all the good times we had together, and yes all the traumatic times as well, the good the bad and the ugly.
Like the time the slugs ate the bean starts, the dirty rat bastards. I could have understood the first time the slugs ate the beans as just another of Mother Nature’s creatures trying to survive. But the second time the slugs ate the beans I took as a personal insult and attack on my competence as a gardener. That’s when I dropped my gentle organic gardening methods of using beer traps, coffee grounds and hand picking slugs and reached for the nuclear option; Iron phosphate. It was the slugs or me and I wanted those slugs dead.
Then there were the first of the sugar snap peas. Eating them right off the vine as I harvest the first batch for the farmers market, I can still hear the crisp crack as I bite the pea pod in half and taste the flood of that wonderful fresh pea flavor. And the broccoli, the arugula, the strawberries, every Tuesday morning while harvesting produce for the farmers market I grazed my way through my garden having my morning greens.
I did have a couple WOW’s. That’s “why oh why”, did I plant a whole bed of Kale? And a whole bed of Chard? And 5 hills of pumpkins? Its fun watching pumpkins grow, but they are kinda like teenagers; what do you do with them when they are all grown up? Anybody want a pumpkin?
And then there were the “wha’ happen’?” Last year I had box after box of ripe red tomatoes, this year the blasted things didn’t start to ripen up till after I got back from vacation in September. Likewise the grapes, they just kind of sat there and looked at me. I swear I could hear them asking me to turn on the heat this spring and they never did really ripen up this fall.
But now the season is over, I forgive the slugs, can accept the fact that tomatoes will ripen in their own good time and have given away all the excess pumpkins.
All the debris from the season just ended has been cleared away and I’m just a day or two of good weather away from getting autumn leaves dug into all the beds.
Wind whipping the flag sideways
Rain slanting through the trees
The Grounds crew taking hoses
Off faucets for the winter
Time to start looking through catalogs
Time to start planning for next season
November at my desk