Final Harvest

Cleaning up the garden is a messy affair. Things get a little chaotic and disheveled. There's no neat and tidy way to go about it.

We harvested the last of the fruits of our summer's labor yesterday. Peppers, carrots, a few more canning tomatoes, sugar pumpkins and squash.

The harvest requires that you make some decisions. For as much as we pull up, there's much that we leave in the ground. What do you leave? What will feed you and your family this winter? What will feed the soil throughout the winter? What might reseed that you don't want next year? What is too far along to be useful for eating? And some feathered brains want to know, what can we give to the chickens?

This year our garden was basic and utilitarian. Everything I planted I chose for it's usefulness in canning and preserving. Next year I might branch out once again, add a few heirlooms and some pretty squash. Nothing is ever wasted in gardening. Even a failure goes back to feed the soil, and I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to say that as there's a grocery store if my harvest is a bust.

This garden is a vanity. A hobby. We're only winking at self-sufficiency. But what it teaches us is valuable, and I hope I'm learning. I hope I'm applying what I'm learning to the rest of life.