This will be my last season at our community garden. While it's hard to give up the little plot that I've kept for the past five years, anyone who's grown food at a community garden knows that the experience comes with some unique challenges. After plenty of ups and downs, I've decided to focus my attention on container gardening here at home, which will make my tiny allotment available for some other eager gardener next spring.
This morning, I went to do the last of my gardening, tucking the plot in for the winter. I didn't want to leave a big, weedy mess for the lucky soul that inherits my little chunk of real estate. And honestly, I haven't been a very active gardener this summer, so I definitely had some work to do.
In the course of an hour and a half, the plot went from this:
I know, I know. It just looks--sad.
Usually, this time of year, I clear out what's left of all the summer crops, put in my garlic, and scatter cover crop seed everywhere else. I decided not to plant cover crop this year, partially because I didn't want to make a bunch of work for some new gardener next season.
Instead, I did some lazy "sheet mulching"--layering greens and browns and then covering it all with cardboard. The organic material will break down over the winter, feeding the soil a bit. The cardboard helps keep everything in place and will also, hopefully, keep the weeds down during this "off" season. Again, it's lazy, but it should do the trick.
I had a good time in the garden. I collected seeds from the calendula and nigella, so I'll have some souvenirs to sow in the spring.
And I spent some quality time with the last of the summer's pollinators. A male Rufous Hummingbird came and went all morning, zipping past me to get to the tangerine sage. Of course, I couldn't snap a photo; hummingbirds are much faster than I am, especially now that I've cut my coffee consumption to half a cup a day.
This little lady, though, wasn't in any hurry to move on.
I left the garden with a little bag of seeds and a clump of wild onions descended from some that my cousin smuggled off a Canadian campsite a few years ago. I'll take a few months off from gardening, but at the tail end of winter, when the seed catalogs show up in the mailbox, I'll start scheming again, building a little garden--this time a container garden--in my imagination.
I'm trying to spend this weekend getting things done. I've got some plans for November that might take up quite a bit of my time--I'll let you in on the excitement next week, I promise.
We're also planning on attending the annual neighborhood pumpkin carving party tomorrow night. And of course, the trick-or-treaters will be here on Sunday. Which means that I might have to buy some more candy for them. I'm not sure what happened to the last two bags I picked up...
Maybe Halloween chaos is enough to fill your weekend. If not, here's a to-do list for you:
Put vanilla in your soup.
Make a Halloween mess.
Download some wrapping paper.
Make a last-minute costume.
Order customized cards.
Have a lovely--and spooky--weekend!