As the cool weather descends upon us, the leaves begin to change and the days grow shorter, nature marks the beginning of the end of a season. I have always loved October. Not only because this is the month of my birth, but also because it marks for me the bridge of transition from the the last days of the memory of summer, the full feel of fall and the first breath of winter that November brings.
My community garden and home garden contribute to this transition. As I harvest the last of my tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and green beans and look forward to harvesting my fall plantings of swiss chard and raddiccio in a few weeks, I begin to think about how I will soon be engaging in a different form of “harvest” come November. That will entail pulling from the freezer and cupboards to harvest the vegetables that I froze and canned for use until the spring comes and planting can being again. But before we begin to turn a bit inward and indoors for winter, I will need to get my herbs into the cold frame to over winter and do the final garden clean up in advance of the first frost. Hopefully mother nature will give me a few more weeks to do so.
As I was surveying my community garden plot and beginning to pull up for compost the plants that had exhausted their life of production, a woman was walking on the sidewalk outside the garden fence. As I was lost in thought, I heard her voice calling to get my attention. I looked up. She smiled and asked how she could get involved in the community garden. She said she is not experienced but wanted to learn how to grow things.
I explained to her how the community garden worked and guided her to the county park website. She said she traveled back and forth to Africa, where she is originally from, and she wanted to learn how to garden so she could help grow gardens in schools in Africa. We chatted a bit more and she bid farewell.
With her departure, I felt bittersweet emotions. I was ready to close down my community garden plot for the winter. At the same time, I love the interactions that I have had with passer bys over the past few months of the growing season. I will miss them. But one thing I know for sure. All seasons have a purpose and, for now, a part of me is looking forward to the winter. A time when we are brought indoors for reflection and renewal. Then come March or so, I will be ready to take on the spring!