I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Sunday, November 15, 2009

That's a wrap

What do you do when you know there is no longer any hope of squeezing another cracked tomato, or minuscule eggplant, or puny pepper out of the utterly failed garden? Gather up everything that you did squeeze out and pile it in a bowl so you can pretend you actually had a harvest. There. Denial fixes everything, and I feel much better now.

Due to Hurricane what's her name, anything in my garden that was still clinging to life by a thread has been drowned, ripped off the vine, or otherwise molested. There is currently a large branch from the stupid silver maple impaled in the middle of the beds and the leaves have created a wet mat of slug heaven (why don't hurricanes do the slugs in? Not fair.)

Sunday looks like it's going to be a great day for being outside and taking care of some of the destruction; problem is I volunteered my little self to help out with a booth at the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, for the entire day. (I am an idiot). The first two days of the festival were pretty much a loss due to the storm remnants that ripped through the Mid-A this week, so I guess they deserve to have one good day since it is something that's planned all year. Just wish I hadn't opened my big mouth and volunteered!

The fall cleanup is going to end up getting done in January if I don't start scheduling things a little better. I have been doing some inside stuff, but there's plenty still left on the inside to-do list. Which is why it's always good to keep a list of inside tasks for when the weather outside is frightful; you feel like you're not a complete layabout. Some suggestions:

- Bagging up the seeds you've been drying, if you are prone to collecting way more than you will ever possibly be able to grow, like me. I had umpty billion little dishes of this and that seeds waiting patiently to be put to bed, and many of them are now snugged away in their little envelopes. Not all, but some (hey, I'm a great starter, but a very poor completer, what can I say. Short attention span.)

- Recycling all of the garden catalogs from the past year. I know they're pretty, but they have to go. Go open up your recycling bin right now, gentle reader, and cast them. The 2010's have started to arrive.

- Also recycling all of the oddball containers you've been hoarding that you thought might be good for growing stuff (hey! This is a good size tray/cup/box, I should save this...) No one on the planet needs hundreds of yogurt containers; don't know why I thought I did. But I'm not giving up my mushroom trays, no-sir-ree.

- Doing inventory on the garden equipment. What's broken? Can it be fixed? If yes, start on that, if no, then throw. What do you have too many of? Get rid of the multiples. You do not need six trowels, I'm sorry but you just don't. What might you be hankerin' for next year, that maybe you could make yourself? In this economy, the $40 or $50 garden hod is but a sweet dream, so I have decided to build my own, and the whole project can be made in my back room. I'm thinking there might be a few more do-it-yourself projects waiting in the wings as the winter looms.

- Doing inventory on the garden seeds. I actually already did this a few months ago, but it's a good one for anyone who hasn't already. Those twelve year old melon seeds are not going to germinate, buckaroo, so toss 'em. Pull all of the seed packs out and go through them ruthlessly, figure out what's still good and get rid of the rest. That way you know what you need when ordering season starts, and you don't order way too much and end up with duplicates like I always do (how'd I get four packs of Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach? Not doing inventory, that's how).

- Planning next year's beds. If you are a strict rotator, figure out where everybody can go so as not to invite pesties to multiply. I have never actually been one to pay all that much attention to whether the tomatoes are growing in the same spot as last year, but then the garden was sort of non-existent for a couple of years so don't take me as a good example. Right now my planning is looking like the front yard will be getting ripped up and the back yard left to the damn silver maple and its branches of death.

Wrapping up the garden year is sort of mournful in a way, but then I remember there will be seeds needing to be started in just eight weeks (I'm going to have broccoli and cabbage next year, dammit, if it kills me.) That's when my season starts. In the meantime, there's garden hods to build, and broken stuff to get rid of, and vegetable beds to plan...

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