Community Garden News: Fall is Bittersweet

For me, fall is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.  Heartwarming because fall is a time to celebrate the harvest. Comfort food is back in style with roasted root veggies, winter squash soups … yum.  My countertop literally overflows with a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables.  Vegetables ebbing and flowing as they transition from countertop to roasting pan, soup pot, freezer, and water bath.

It’s a heartbreaking time of year because all around there are signs that there are only moments of the season left.  I feel a slight undertone of resentment towards the garden and an impulse to tear things out of the ground.  Maybe it’s an effort to keep some control over the season ending – similar to the sentiment “if your going to leave me, I’m going to leave you first!”

But, it actually IS that time of year to begin cleaning out the garden – a process which gives me personal closure (and satisfaction).  Here’s some information on how to clean out your garden plots for Closing Day which this year is Saturday, October 20th.

  • Clean all debris, weeds, roots, and plants from your plot – it should be ready to plant when you, or the next gardener, starts next season.* Weeds go in the weed pile, other plant materials go in compost pile.
  • Weed and mulch paths around your garden.
  • Place all stalks near-but not in- the compost, in a separate pile (look for the sign).  This includes corn, sunflower, broccoli, kale, and other brassicas.  Leaves can be torn from the stalk and placed in the compost pile.
  • Add a small wheelbarrow-full of composted manure to your plot.
  • Cover with a layer of straw – ½ a bale per plot.
  • Your garden bed is now ready for a nice several months of hibernation!