It's that time of year that I'm always ready for and yet saddens me at the same time...the end of my garden. I've been involved in gardening in some form or other for about as long as I can remember. My mom and dad always had a garden when I was growing up and after I married, Mom would pass along any excess she had. A couple of our previous homes never really had a good place to have our own, so when I decided I wanted to do my own canning and freezing, we increased the size of the folk's and then we'd drive out here to help plant, till, water, and pick.
With just the hubs and I now, and our kids doing their own gardening, there's just no need for me to mass produce anymore and the old garden spot was way too large, so this year I downsized and decided to put a small spot out behind the barn. Having come through last year's severe drought in this area I wasn't sure what to expect for this growing season, but when the days begin to warm and the peepers begin to holler I just can't help but find myself some dirt to dig in, "weather or not" I have cooperation from Mother Nature!
This year drought was not a problem...oh no! This year we didn't have to worry about precipitation....we got lots of it! First was the snow that continued right on through to the end of April. It didn't stay long, but there is nothing more depressing than having several days of warm spring weather, putting in your young plants and then waking up to find snow on your garden a week and a half later! Those plants hung in there though and made it to our Spring rains, however it rained and rained, and then rained some more. My poor little plants not only got their feet wet, they were in it up past their ankle bones! I just knew I'd have to replant once everything dried out, but those little guys pulled through once again and produced better than anything I've had in many a year.
We've not only ate fresh all through this growing season, but had enough to can and give away as well. The heat and dry weather made a come back a couple weeks ago, so needless to say the garden has just about give up the ghost. Yesterday was the finale...the daughter-in-law and I canned the last batch of salsa for the year and sometime over this Labor Day weekend I will go out and put an end to the suffering of my trusty plants. I'll take the largest of any green tomatoes that might still be there and ready them for the freezer and fried green tomatoes during the winter, but I know as soon as those plants are removed I'll be longing for a fresh sliced tomato, or a stew pan full of fresh green beans.
Still, I always look forward to the cooler weather and the Fall season so it will only be a passing sadness to the garden's end. Come January I'll be looking forward to a new year and a new garden and you can bet once those peepers start in March or April I'll be making garden plans once again!