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Talking It Over: Clearing garden not fun task but is reminder of next season

Clearing off the garden is not as much fun as planting it. Tuesday night I braved the semi-muddy conditions in my garden to clean off the rest of the plants and produce. It was a sad time, not just because of the work and time spent on this process but because it meant the end of another growing season.

It is always so much fun and even exciting to plant the garden in the spring. The newly tilled soil is warm and ready for the tiny plants fresh from a nursery. There seems to be endless room as you plot the rows and predict how each thing will grow and spread. It is even fun to hoe the weeds and water the tiny plants and seeds as I watch them grow. I love to stand at my kitchen window and just look at the garden.

When I finally see the blossoms and produce appears, I know the work will begin. As the plants begin to bear fruit, I am so busy harvesting and preserving that I don't even realize how large they are growing and how full the garden is getting. Before I know it there is no room between rows and tilling is useless. For me the weeding becomes part of the harvesting, I just pull as I go.

In recent weeks the huge plants taking over the garden have started to show their age. The leaves are dropping off with roots and vines in full view. It is much easier to find the produce and harvesting takes less search and effort. However, even as the foliage dies off the vines continue to supply as the last few products grow to maturity.

I finally decided that I had enough and after hearing the weather forecast thought it best to clear off the garden. It was sad to pull out the nearly dead plants that still struggled to produce. But it was also somewhat of a relief to know that my canning days were numbered.

Now with the garden freshly tilled and ready for next spring, I can only look out my kitchen window and remember what was once there. I hope I have many days of looking at that clean, black dirt before fresh, white snow covers it for the long winter.

The garden deserves this time of rest as it provided us with many fresh products for those long winter days ahead. As it disappears under the snow, I can be assured that it is only taking in nutrients and getting ready for the next growing season.