Garden Notes Upon the End of the Season.

I had every intention of ripping out the dead garden yesterday, as we got our first hard freeze on Tuesday, but after spending the morning teaching my friend Rebecca to knit and playing with her sweet twin baby girls and not sleeping well the night before, I decided a nap was a better idea. And then I got caught up doing stuff around the house, like putting laundry away and cleaning bathrooms, even though I swear, didn’t I just clean them both? How does a room that you’re supposed to get clean in get so dirty so fast??!?!
Anyway, Pat got home from work on the early side, and Edie was at soccer practice and then going to dinner with friends (That girl really does have her own, very busy social schedule), so we decided we should take advantage of the afternoon and walk up to McGrady’s and have pitchers and nachos. You know, the same thing we do every time we get a few kid free hours together. As we headed out, I took the opportunity to survey the grounds. I saw this:
New growth on the lilac. I have long wanted a lilac, just as I want rose bushes. Our property gets light, in certain spots. Mostly, by the side of the road. The best spot is reserved for my vegetable garden. The rest is sort of hit and miss and always getting rearranged. I planted that lilac a few years ago in what I thought would be a good spot, but it didn’t do much. At one point, I thought I’d killed it. I moved it this spring into what I thought would be a better spot, and then, after both freakishly weird microbursts this spring that brought down about half the trees in the ‘hood, and definitely a few around it, it did seem to be happier. I watered it daily for months, carrying a bucket out there every day. And yesterday, as we headed out, I saw it had new growth. Yay.

Out the back door, I noticed a spot of green in the middle of where I know I’ve planted nothing, Pat has worked hard to cut back, rip out and cover with mulch. I realized I must have thrown some big garden clippings down there at some point, because it looked suspiciously like arugula:

Indeed, upon closer inspection it was! How flipping cool is that? Perfect to cook with or make into pesto. I love volunteer gardens. I love that it sprung up somewhere previously unclaimed. Perhaps that’s where I start digging a new bed next?

And then Pat pointed out that it might be time to rip out the vegetable garden, which I assured him that it was on my agenda for the weekend. (Never mind that I had Thursday off because it was Veteran’s day and Friday off because that’s always my day off and both days, I was home alone until he got home from work about 5 each day, because Edie went home with friends after school both days and yet, had managed to not accomplish that.).

So, this morning after soccer, I went out there.

Definitely time. Oh, my beautiful, bountiful garden….ripping you out every fall is the cruelest part of a season I already don’t like.

I realized I hadn’t checked my radishes lately. They were ginormous.

And deformed. They will probably taste very woody, but hey, we’ll try them anyway. I also pulled all my carrots out, the last of the beans, pulled every tomato off the vine, the last of the squash and peppers and bonus, I found one small golden cherry tomatillo that I’ve already cut up to harvest the seeds to bolster what I already harvested this year. All told, here’s the harvest:

Not too shabby. It must be close to 10 pounds of those stupid roma grape tomatoes I planted by mistake. Oh well, I’ll do something fun with them, even if they are little. Probably chutney. Most of them are green, so that’s probably my best bet. I’ll wrap some up in newspaper for us to have homegrown tomatoes for a little bit longer. Two nice sized crossbred butternut squash – I had a volunteer pumpkin, volunteer gourds and a volunteer butternut squash plant pop up. The gourds turned out okay, I got one pumpkin and then a slew of butternut squash that are pumpkin shaped on the outside with the butternut skin and coloring. And I must have forgotten to thin the carrots last spring, because there are mostly small ones. When they say those miniature carrots you buy at the grocery store don’t grow in nature, they lie, because I grow them quite well thank you very much. Sadly, only one row of carrots made it this year and I didn’t realize it until today. I plant my carrots inbetween my tomato plants. I read somewhere they make good companion plants and they really do. Since my garden is small, I like to utilize it as much as possible and plant everything on top of each other. I have a 9′ x 25′ plot and by the time I’m done cramming, you just cannot walk through it anymore, you can only access it from the sides by July. Once the tomatoes start spreading out, I don’t bother with the carrots until I rip out the entire garden and see how they did this year. I still have a decent enough crop to cook, puree and freeze for Edie’s birthday carrot cake. And that’s really all I expect out of my carrot crop. Anything else is just excessively delightful.

And there it is. My garden. *sigh*. I do have some baby greens in there, but everything else is done for the season.
A few notes and ideas for next year. The way the volunteer wandering squash plants grew, they did pretty well, without too much crowding other things out. I need to remember that and plant it that way on purpose next year. I need to be a bit more careful about reading the tags on the plants I buy, so I don’t end up with a billion roma grapes next year. And I need to remember to thin the carrots. The zinnias in the bed in front of the living room window attracted hummingbirds and butterflies galore all summer long. It was so nice to look out the window from this computer desk to see. It was an experiment that we decided last August was a permanent fix.
I still need to plant the yellow cone flowers I got last weekend from Mollie, so I still have some digging to do. And I should plant some bulbs…. a maybe a handful more lettuce seeds to pop up next February and March. And then, we’ll call it a season.

One thought on “Garden Notes Upon the End of the Season.

  1. Michele says:

    That squash looks ginormous! Or maybe it's just the picture. I love that your Arugala had a mind of it's own. What a priceless gift.

    Fall is definitely for planting. So thank you for reminding me that I wanted to throw a few bulbs in the ground out back. Perhaps that will be Abby's and my after school project today.


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