I'm not sure why gardeners speak of putting the garden to bed. If only it were as easy as it sounds. Instead, today's effort reminded me once again of what back breaking work gardening can be. As I pushed my luck with all this warm weather and constantly found other things to do but get in the garden to do what must be done, I often wondered if it was all worth it.
Today I pulled out the last of the Swiss chard and kale (there will be lots to freeze for the winter) and turned over the soil and planted most of the garlic. I cleaned out the large pots that once grew tomatoes--determined to plant them in the ground next year. And I scattered leaves and mulch across most of the ground in the hopes that my healthy colony of earthworms and beetles will continue to do their thing out of sight.
I hauled out three loads of "yard waste" in the hopes that the folks who come to take it away will make one last trip. I dumped another load in the rear of the garden in hopes of beginning a compost pile. I'm tired.
But listening to and living by the seasons reminds me that the earth is tired too. It is ready for a long-deserved rest. Rebuilding and restoration will continue to take place--for the garden it will be under the mulch. For me, it will be in the warmth of the house. Each time I look out the window to what looks like desolate ground I'll remember and give thanks for the bounty the garden yielded over the past six months.
On Thanksgiving Day my mom helped me harvest the last of the collard greens. Most of them were cooked up into the collard cobbler we served that night. I really don't think I've ever had tastier collard greens. So yeah, it is worth it. A nice, slow, restorative yoga session tonight will ease my back, the taste of fresh greens will nourish my body, and the satisfaction of another season completed will comfort my spirit until it is time to begin again in the spring.