I\’m glad I live in a place with four distinct seasons. It suits my temperament, which thrives on change and variety. Here in Vermont, no sooner do I fall prey to serious cabin fever than spring arrives. No sooner do I run out of vegetables in the freezer than the garden goes into production. No sooner do I get sick of looking at the garden in decline than it\’s time to call it quits for the year.
That\’s what I did this afternoon. I pulled up all the frozen bean plants (we\’d have had a bumper crop, if only I\’d planted them a week earlier) and fed them to the chickens. I pulled up the broccoli and fed it to the goats. The tomatoes, eggplants and peppers had been reduced to twigs by the recent frosts, but I threw them over the fence into the goat yard anyway—they\’ll give the babies something to play with. The ground under the Sungold tomatoes (the only plants that produced significantly this year) was covered with green fruit, which I carefully gathered for the chickens.
Then my husband dumped cartloads of lovely hay-cum-manure from the goat house on the garden, and I spread it carefully until each bed was covered in a couple of feet of the stuff. When I was done, the garden was slumbering under a fluffy, slightly smelly duvet of compost that will quietly work its magic in the coming frozen months.
“Good night,” I said to the garden, “sleep well. See you in the spring.” And I went into the house. The 2009 gardening season was officially over. Time to turn my mind to the wood stove and to the drawing table.
Of course the gardening season is not really over. The Swiss chard is still going strong, as is the kale. I still have to dig the potatoes, and bring in the rosemary, and harvest the sage, the oregano and the thyme.
But I like to think that it\’s over.