This summer in the chaos of preserving produce from my garden, I forgot to care for the plants providing the food. By September, my green bean leaves were nibbled to lacy bits by an unidentified hungry insect. One tomato plant that I neglected to cage spread over an entire garden bed, stealing sunlight from neighboring chard and pea plants.
I can’t say that my neglect was entirely due to food preservation. To be honest, my joy of gardening wilted in the summer heat and didn’t spring back until late August. In the spring, I dreamed of planting a full fall garden, but I only managed to grow a handful of chard and arugula leaves.
Now, the crisp fall air calls me to outdoors, just in time to prepare my garden for its winter rest. I will cover the beds with some compost, fish meal and grass, hoping that this mixture purifies and replenishes my soil.
Next year’s garden will contain fewer green beans and tomatoes but more winter squash. Perhaps I will even grow some cutting flowers as crops. Flowers may seem frivolous compared with carrots, they are essential to our family’s well being. I have discovered that my morning mood can be transformed from grouchy to gracious with a vase of flowers and a clean sink.