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Harvest time

November 5th, 2003 · 1 Comment


Last week in the mornings as I jogged around the block, I noticed for the first time a thin layer of ice:, frosty white crust in the garden beds and a shimmer on the sidewalks. As temperatures got colder, it became time to shut down the garden, or at least the summer annuals and vegetables. The other day the girls and I went out, bowl in hand, to collect the last harvest: four small pumpkins, two green peppers, and three carrots. The next day we gathered all the tomatoes – ripe ones to eat and green ones to ripen indoors – and a few last raspberries still on the vines. Two too-tiny-to-eat cucumbers and two nibbled zucchinis were also discovered. The carrots we ate for lunch and the berries for dinner. The peppers were a part of one night’s stir fry and the four little pumpkins are on our mantel, along with other decorative squash. The garden beds look bare now without the vines and plants, asking the question: what is happening here? and waiting for winter.

I also did some remodeling, making more varied shapes and more beds. When I first started the garden, I split it down the center and then into four ways, creating eight rectangular beds: simple. But after reading some Ann Lovejoy books , and now needing to create beds for Michaela and Elisabeth, I wanted to change it. I wanted it to have more creativity and intrigue, to be a children’s garden with little paths running here and there for lots of fun discovery and harvesting. Plus I had some watering problems, with strawberry plants growing on top of the sprinkler head. Right now I fear the garden just looks like a mole or two had a fun time pushing some dirt around. I tried to make a circular bed for Michaela, and one for Elisabeth too. I wanted to make another circle for myself but it got morphed into a semi-circle after Ted pointed out to me that I would still have problems with water and sprinklers. All the strawberries were uprooted, and I moved some of the younger plants over to another bed, to start a new generation and to create a Berry Patch, together with the raspberry canes. In the last bed, where I tore down the tomatoes, I’d like to incorporate a slide for the girls; we’ll see how it works out next spring as I plant out the beds.

The dahlia that I wrote about months ago Yet to be revealed has been a faithful bloomer. I’m sorry its days are ending. Three others have bloomed in the past month but none have been as hardy in height and flowers as this one. (Well worth the investment !)


Here’s another dahlia, a late bloomer, but lovely just the same. The yellow petals were streaked with hues of pink as the blossoms aged.


(Sad to say that since I wrote this draft, the dahlias froze and had to be cut down.)

The girls and I together also planted sweet peas for the spring, poking fingertips into the dirt to make holes. Tulips too: peach and purple ones. The yellow dog-tooth violets I bought back in September had rotted in the garage – ouch! I should have planted them sooner. I learned that lesson! In the spring we hope to see a few new daffodils, little ones with bright orange centers. I also dug up my irises since they were getting too crowded, and planted them out as singular roots – about 30 plants in all, I estimate. Maybe it is because I think of roots as hairs, but the iris ones reminded me of dreadlocks, thick and bumpy. I transplanted some evergreens in the front yard too, tore out my spearmint, and did some edging on the lawn.

It’s been a busy time preparing for the spring and summer to come. Hours spent with shovels and shears. And I’m not sure anyone else even notices. It’s not as if the yard looks dramatically different. But that’s okay. There’s something about gardening that is joy in itself, the fun of feeling dirt in the fingers, the excitement of experimenting, the glory of flowers and fruit, the wonders of creation nutured and held in the hands. I’m learning a lot and I think the girls are learning too as they work with me and see what I am doing. I’m looking forward to lingering longer in the yard, watching and waiting for those tender green signs of spring.

Tags: gardening

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Nov 5, 2003 at 3:42 pm

    Your harvest vegetables and flowers are simply gorgeous. Thanks for posting those uplifting photos along with the text. Feel free to do more of that 🙂 I truly admire your gardening skills and determination. I wish I lived next door and could notice for myself every day. I am glad I got to sample your wares when we had those delicious snap peas in the stir-fry last year at your house. Here’s hoping for another visit.