The garden is an embarrassment. Tall, dead weeds tower over my head, apples on the ground, tomatoes past their prime seeding the beds with next year’s volunteers. Yes, I can blame grief. But it’s September and it’s time to get out there and reclaim what’s mine.
It’s also time to cull some livestock. Five young rabbits and a turkey need to be killed, and a few small hens need new homes or to become stew. I haven’t killed anything since Jay died and I find myself reticent, but I must get back in the saddle and do what needs doing.
I’m parring down, looking at my garden with new perspective.
I like planning the garden in September, though the clean-up is always daunting and this year even more so. I’m also designing for two eaters, not five, so I am thinking differently about my priorities when it comes to veggies. And meat.
For instance, historically I wrote off certain crops because they weren’t productive enough – kohlrabi, for instance. A kohlrabi plant grows one globe, and once harvested is done producing, so it seemed a less viable use of garden space than it’s similar but more productive cousin – broccoli. Broccoli would win the bed, though kholrabi is Stella’s favorite. Not this year. I’m growing for two now, not five – I can afford to devote a 12ft bed to kohlrabi if I want to. New life, new garden.
Other crops for the Sept/Oct planting window: 12ft bed of carrots (a kid’s garden can never have enough!), a 4×4 bed of shallots (my last attempt after two failed years – hoping a new vendor will do the trick), the final 12ft bed split between broccoli and cauliflower, two rotating 4×4 beds of potatoes with shelling peas along their trellises (yes, I plant peas in October), and a final 4×4 bed for garlic. I will let the remainder of the beds rest, pumping them up with rabbit poop, chicken coop hay, and wood ash throughout the winter.
My few remaining laying hens will live in the small coop as I prepare the larger one for Spring’s meat bird influx. Until then, we will pray for rain and enjoy the quiet.