All Settled In For a Long Winter's Rest

The gardens have been empty for well over a month now. Dewy mornings have been replaced with frosty mornings. The squirrels have fattened themselves up on the last of the apples we left for them. The two little pie pumpkins on our front steps have been cooked down, pureed and frozen for yet-to-be-determined winter baking. And the very last flat of tomatoes is sitting on the kitchen counter, ready to be roasted sometime this week for one last batch of salsa.

Yep, it’s finally time to put this garden season to bed.

With just 138 square feet of actually garden space, I think I did alright. I didn’t do a weigh-in of my harvests, or calculate my inputs against market value to see how much we saved, or any other quantitative measurement of my gardening success (or lack thereof) outside of a few photos to document how things were progressing. It would certainly be interesting to do some year, but for now, I am satisfied to know that we enjoyed an ample supply of fresh produce, tried new crops and recipes, and learned a few more tricks along the way.

It certainly felt ambitious to more than double my garden this year, but surprisingly it wasn't that much more work. I love that raised beds kind of go on autopilot after a while (I did virtually no weeding once they filled in) and I continue to be amazed at how much can be grown in such a small space.  Between the replanting and the canning and freezing, I feel pretty good about my efforts to stretch the summer harvest as much as possible.

Some of the harvest was a bit wonky this year but really, when do we ever have a summer that doesn’t have some less than desirable conditions? There’s always going to be something in the garden that doesn’t do as well as it might have under slightly different circumstances. It’s one of the things I had to learn to just let go, because in the end there’s only so much that I can do to stop early blight. Or the rain. Or squirrels.

But, hey! It’s only 32 days until January, and you know what January brings?  The 2012 seed catalogs! I foresee some snowy mornings curled up on the couch with a hot mug of tea, seed catalogs, and about a dozen different versions of my 2012 garden plans in my future.  The list is already brewing in my mind.  Here's hoping this winter isn't too long.

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