Thursday, August 14, 2008

Life Cycle of a Garden

Lately, I've been frantically working to preserve what I can from our garden before they go bad. So far I have put up:

10 pints of dill pickle slices
8 pints of bread and butter pickle slices
8 pints of dill pickle spears
22 cups of frozen shredded zucchini
200 (approximately) dried then frozen cherry tomatoes
4 baked, shredded then frozen spaghetti squash

I have also frozen a gallon bag of roma tomatoes, a gallon of Better Boys, and a gallon of Beef Hearts for temporary holding until I gather enough to can. I am hoping to can the last batch of pickles today now that the kids are all back at school and I have the house to myself today.

But in between picking, freezing, and canning, lately I've been thinking about the life cycle of a garden. It's amazing to me to see it change over time. It occurred to me that a garden's life is similar to a person's life. When the seedlings are small, there isn't much to them yet, but you just know they're filled with limitless potential. Then you watch them grow and spread out. If you nurture and protect them, they can spread out further than you ever expected them to. Suddenly, in the heart of summer, they're thriving and producing beyond your wildest dreams and every item you pick feels like a blessing. But then it happens. Gradually you begin to notice weaknesses. It could be bugs or a disease that suddenly appears. You do everything you can to minimize the damage and prolong the life of these precious plants. If you do a good job and the plants are strong, they can still last quite a while. But, as fall approaches, they begin to fade. Production slows down and some plants succumb to the bugs or disease or just the stress of coping with the demands of late summer. They begin to die off. The garden becomes sparser and what is left begins to look feeble. You realize the end is near for this crop. It has been a good run, but it is nearly over. As temperatures cool and winter approaches, you reconcile yourself to accept the garden's fate. It is sad, but there is one thing that pulls you through...seed packets saved for next year.

My 2008 Garden:March 31, 2008 (Before tilling)

April 18, 2008 (Preparing the soil)

May 31, 2008 (The seedlings are planted)

June 22, 2008 (Everything is growing)

July 7, 2008 (The plants are young adults)

July 29, 2008 (The plants are producing like crazy but starting to show signs of trouble)

August 14, 2008 (Plants are beginning to die off and production slowing down)

Stay tuned for more...

Today's local weather:
High temp: 80 F
Low temp: 60 F
Partly cloudy with chance of afternoon thundershowers

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