Right before I left in July, I pulled almost everything out of the garden. Everything. It was horrifying. Some of the tomato plants had new fruit budding. It was awful. I had worked so hard for that garden, and it physically hurt to pull everything out (that might also be because there are steel edges to the fencing I used for my tomato cages and I cut myself about 235 times). I left one bed for the housesitter to manage, but she wasn't all that interested in the jalapeños, so when I got back, I had a bumper crop. Which I canned. Which is all I did all of June, too.
After I pulled everything out, I tilled up the beds, pulled off the square-foot grid strings and covered everything in a blanket of hay and hoped for the best. It felt really good in cathartic, sweaty kind of way, but it was really sad, too. As my brother-in-law reminds me, Stephen King says this about writing: You have to "kill your darlings." In writing and in gardening, I guess.
So, this week, I started over. It seems almost unimaginable that everything I did last spring now has to be repeated for fall. I drove to the Natural Gardener in the 105 degree heat and bagged my own compost. Needless to say, there was no Tomato Larry that day - it was EMPTY in the bag-your-own-lot. Because I am insane.
I pulled off all the hay, tilled in all the new compost and started some beans and tomatoes. Which is exactly where I was at the end of March last year. And I'm okay with that. Like laundry and dishes and most other things in life, there's always something more to be done. My challenge is to do it with a lighter heart. And without cussing. Still working on that one.
I had to hit the ground running this week to get the fall garden in, but I was ready. Tomatoes and beans went in this week. And this time, I actually did some planning for successive crops like onions, garlic, leeks, cauliflower and broccoli. So, I know where I'm going as it begins to get cooler.
And where I'm going right now is bush beans and tomatoes. I'm feeling pretty good about that.
Keep it green, y'all!