packing up the garden

I think in a very large part the gardening season is over. It's unfortunately the month of October. While there are many upsides, I am really going to miss gardening season. I'm also not quite sure what I will talk about in any of my conversations.

For the past 6 months, I started and ended my days with those silly plants. In the winter months when they were just wee little seeds, I checked on them before getting into my car. As the months turned, I would drink my coffee while I peered at them before work... most often in my pajamas. When the snap peas came in, I would snack on them immediately after coming home from work. You could find me with the mail in one arm and snap peas in the other hand.

But now it's Fall. The sun isn't rising until nearly 7 am... and it's dark when I get home. So, those two little parts of my day when I would pluck fresh tomatoes are few and far between. Boo. I'm 100% sure that my neighbors noticed how much time I spend around this 16x8 plot of beloved dirt.

I really think gardening brings out the best in me. I get to be outside all the time checking on them. I can be crazy about setting up the optimal watering system. I can feed them crushed up organic egg shells and advil. On more than one occasion I turned my hands green after a long day of pruning up the tomato vines. And then the inevitable challenge of using all my produce. I thoroughly enjoy deciding who gets tomatoes. I've given them to many characters in my life from the mail lady, the dentist, the guy who sits next to me at work, my physical therapist, the neighbor couple at the end of the street, and people I've lured over for dinner.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't overflow with pride when I hand them to people. Sometimes I am even lucky enough to get pictures of the final product. I love telling them the varieties and what they can expect. "Hi, touch this one. See it's fuzzy? That's the garden peach." "Oh, this one? It's a yellow tie dye. It is beautiful when you cut it open. Slice it horizontally for the best stripes".

So farewell garden. I've swapped my geraniums for mums and pumpkins. Literally so many white pumpkins. Fall planters are essentially just vehicles for different types of kale. I miss flowers already.  I'm spending the long weekend heavily pruning back the tomatoes to try and get the remaining fruit to ripen. There are just so many green tomatoes left... and every one of those babes has the potential to be part a salad, some sauce, or a friendship gift. A girl can dream.

[1] See all the carrot tops. So many carrots.
[2] I have no idea why that marigolds are still doing so well. This feels very abnormal. I yanked a few of them out today as I was trying to prune back the tomatoes. Things got rough.
[3] Red zebras and one garden peach tomato. The red zebras have been great for making sauce. The garden peaches are good for starting conversations.
[4] See all those green tomatoes!
[5] I prepped and froze nearly all the peppers two weekends ago. Glad to see a few more pop up just as I'm getting in the mood for some stuffed peppers.
[6] The yellow tie dye tomatoes are very prolific. Unfortunately, the ones in the bucket are a lost cause. I wasn't able to get them in time... so they'll be going in the marsh.
[7] It was so windy the past few days that all the cages are tipped very much over again. Still so much fruit hidden in there.
[8] I love all the tomatoes - but the black truffle is one of my favorites to find. The colors are just so beautiful when they are really ripe.
[9] I'm going to miss the Dusty Miller. Absolutely doing this again next year.
[10] Fall planters are better than empty planters.

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