“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.
~ May Sarton
I arrive at the garden early, intending to pluck the single remaining cucumber then pull out the vine and so some general clean-up. Once I start, I find that I don’t want to stop.
I pull all the yellow turnips, disappointed to find that they were mostly show. In the ground, beneath the lavish and large leaves, the actual turnips are small and a couple of them already pungent and mushy.
I pull out the Red Russian Kale, leaving the preferred Darkibor standing tall. The remaining plants will provide greens for a good long time yet, and may even gift us with early spring kale.
I tidy up the rainbow Swiss chard, thankful for the colourful stalks that have fed us for months and that continue to produce and provide fresh goodness in our salads.
The jalapeño plant that I thought I picked bare last week turns out to have more than a few peppers still hanging. I pick them all and pull the plant debating about whether to throw them in the freezer or purchase a few more from the green grocer to add to the mix and make another batch of pickled jalapeños.
Upon closer inspection I find a couple of my other pepper plants already bare of peppers. Thieves again. I pull them out and debate about what to do with the remaining plants that are plump with peppers. I’ve been watching and waiting for the peppers to turn from green to red and, in the case of one plant, to chocolate-coloured. I decide to leave them for just a few more days.
I harvest the tomatoes that are ripe and pull three plants that have no more green tomatoes on the vine. There are still plump and beautiful Cherokee purples and Black Krims ripening on the remaining plants. Tomato sandwich feasts will continue for a bit longer even though they’re not quite as flavourful as they were in the heat of summer. I pick a few more Sungolds to add them to the other frozen balls I’ve been keeping to make jam with. Soon.
I cut basil–lots and lots of basil. It’s done well this year and I’ll make another batch of pesto when I get home to add to my growing supply. I leave enough so I can still cut fresh leaves for a bit longer. A margarita pizza, with basil and fresh tomatoes, would be nice for supper one day soon.
As I push the overflowing wheelbarrow–two loads–to the compost area to dump the garden waste I survey other gardens that are in various states of cleanup. It’s a bittersweet season, especially this year when summer was so different and we were forced to stay indoors so much of the time because of the smoke. Still, I feel ready to be done.
Garden work done for the day I carry my bag of produce toward the car. Satisfied, grateful, thinking ahead to next year’s garden, and making a mental note to bring down some radish and spinach seeds. There’s still time, if the weather cooperates.