Our year is divided into different seasons for a reason and I’m so thankful that we’re moving into a season of rest. The earth needs to rest and we need to rest in order to rejuvenate for the coming seasons.
Before that season of rest gets underway, we have a season of harvest to look forward to. Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, gourds, the last of the tomatoes and peppers, potatoes, herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary, zucchini, and even a few blackberries. The gardens are being cleaned up, raked smooth, and planted or blanketed with a fall cover crop to prevent erosion, weeds, and disease. We’ll harvest greens to put up for the winter and till the rest into green manure to replenish the minerals needed to grow healthy crops for next year.
We visited Glenna’s second garden that she got planted late August. She’s hoping to harvest some short season corn and beans. She loves to experiment and try to beat the odds against the weather. She’s got a good head start this year. She’s canned up shelves and shelves from her first garden of the season, enough to feed 4 families that she loves dearly. They have a precious new grand baby in the family now so she’s thinking of her future.
Buddy had us over to see his sweet potato field and we dug rows and rows of beautiful sweet potatoes in oranges, reds, and a creamy white. He’s a professional at planting out slips and we’ve learned so much from him over the last two years. This year he did a little experiment and planted one small row into the ground without ridging them up. The ridged potatoes were uniform and beautiful potatoes, but the ones in the ground weren’t quite so pretty. Lesson learned for me! Ridges all the way!
Rena Ratliff joined the Market Gardeners at the end of the season to sell her families Sugar Beans. They’ve grown them for almost 50 years and her husband Bruce remembers them being around since his early childhood. They’re some of the biggest, most tender beans I’ve ever seen and tasted and I understand why they call them Sugar beans; not because they’ve sweet, but they are delicious! She made some good money selling 4 bushels of Old Fashioned White Half Runners and Sugar Beans and plans on coming back and selling again next year.
Early September was Graduation this year with everyone eagerly anticipating turning in their harvest reports, sharing their garden stories, and receiving a graduation gift for a job well done! First year graduates received a water bath canner, second year graduates received a dehydrator, and I was able to surprise the third year participants with a small garden sprayer. Our third year participants are the seasoned gardeners that we leaned on for tried and true success stories over the years and some mentorship, but they didn’t expect a gift beyond the gift of community that they’ve grown to love.
It was a very successful season of gardening with some mild failures, and great stories shared by families. We formed some long term friendships through this program and we’re looking forward to next year. But first……. a season of rest.