If you ask me, September is the best month in the garden.
The warm season crops are still doing well (in theory) and the colder season crops are starting to come back, thankful for the cooler nights.
The harvest basket seems to just fill itself up the minute I step into the straw mulched paths, pausing for a moment to ask if I should eat the raspberries before or after I do a little grunt work.
But while all of this pastoral musing seems idyllic enough, there are some other thoughts in the nether layers that I need to reckon with.
First of all, why is my garden so big?
Why is it that every April, the month of good intentions, I decide that this is the year I will finally find time to keep everything weeded and tended?
As we slide from April to September, my good intentions are slowly eclipsed by my desire to spend summertime in places other than the garden. I love to bike, hike, swim, row, travel, read in the hammock, and yes, I love to cook, hence the garden. But gardening feels like work when it is 95 F and the weeds are scratching my neck.
I used to feel guilty about all of this, but now I have learned to cope with the ebb and flow of my gardening enthusiasm-- what I am working on now is gardening without guilt.
While it is true that I am very passionate about gardening, I realize that there is a seasonal drive to every aspect of this hobby. Every gardener must come to terms with his or her own type of engagement in the garden. There is no right or wrong way to garden. There is beauty and purpose in every type of garden and what matters most is that a garden meets the needs of the gardener, not the other way around. Gardens without guilt are places of liberation and revelation....a place to accept both our shortcomings and our successes.
The food coming out of my garden this year is bountiful as always, and I have managed to learn a few things which have made the garden easier to manage in spite of its size. Over the next few months as we go through another autumn and winter cycle, I will reflect on what gardening means to me, what I do with the food from my garden, and how I go about deciding what to grow at Red Wagon Plants.
As I share these thoughts with you, I encourage you to share your notions about The Garden. What works well for you? What are the disasters? How does your garden fit into your life? This garden journal is a collective effort between the people of Red Wagon Plants and the family of customers created by all of those young plants going out into the world of our gardens. We hope you will share the thoughts you glean this season and keep the conversation going until we see you again in the spring.