October is the time when the garden of the summer fades. And if your garden looked like a mess in the spring or summer, it doesn’t get any better once things start to wilt. Because then it doesn’t look so much like a garden, but a bunch of overgrown hobo weeds.
So instead of our garden looking like this right now:
We have this!
This is our large tomato patch jungle, complete with collapsing fence posts and a chicken to the right, who just wants the fallen tomato that’s hanging out in the front. Not that she couldn’t pick off the ones hanging over the sides of the fence, too.
And here’s the cherry tomatoes.
We’ve reached our maximum saturation with the garden, picking the last of the tomatoes (both a blessing and a sadness). Even though the tomato plants are still hanging in (at least some of them), they aren’t ripening anymore on the vine with the change in weather. I’m thinking it’s time to go collect the green ones and try out Mark’s grandfather’s way of ripening tomatoes over winter. Rumor has it he took a box and layered green tomatoes in it with newspaper like lasagna, and then let it hang out in their cold basement. The release of ethylene over time helps them to ripen slowly. Might be a fun experiment at the least.
Some beds we have already ripped out, like this empty bed we used for green beans this year. They did really well, but eventually we pulled them when they stopped producing, so we can make way for some fall greens if we choose to plant some. (Though stay tuned on that one, because we’re a little behind on the fall planting.) As you can see by the big weed that sprouted in the empty bed.
The corn was prolific this year, but we made a rookie corn mistake and left it on the plant too long. It basically became starch nuggets, and we had to just share it with the chickens because it did NOT taste good. But the dried stalks are going to make good porch decoration for me, at least!
And last but not least, we have the peppers and chard. The peppers are still there, but like the tomatoes, have stagnated in their growth. I think we’ll let some of them go, though, since we already have an abundance of preserved hot peppers. The chard is still coming, but I’m letting it hang out while we eat up some CSA items.
Again, note that there’s nothing picturesque about these gardens. They are overgrown and wild at the moment. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t get a ton of amazing food from them this year. Which perhaps illustrates one of the coolest things about gardening – you don’t have to be perfect at it to do it. You just do the best you can with what you have and nature surprises you with its resilience and abundance.
Have you finished off your garden for the year or are you still going strong?