Harvest Time

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Even on my little city lot, I'm starting to recognize the rhythms of gardening. In the Spring I feel like an athlete and become single-minded about gardening--all I want to do is be outside in the mud and rain hauling 20 boxwoods across town, hand-spreading compost over my entire lawn, getting into wrestling matches with forsythia. I'm washing heaps of filthy gardening clothes constantly. And my plant lust is at an all time high--there are weekly trips to the nursery where I mean to pop in for one thing and leave with a car load. Then early Summer comes and there's still a little work to be done here and there but by July I've totally lost interest in anything strenuous. I really can't be bothered with anything except a little minor futzing with the veggies and harvesting peas and potatoes and picking pretty bouquets. By August it's chaise lounge time. And then I start to feel all wistful.

The gardener's seasons:

1. Spring
Spring training starts in January.  Drills and endurance excersises include hauling 20 boxwoods across town in the rain, hand-spreading compost over the entire lawn, and wrestling matches with forsythia.

2. Summer
Gardening? Gardens are for croquet and laying on the grass with the dogs and picking mint for iced tea and gathering bouquets for every room of the house.

3. Fall
Fall is here when you don't want to walk barefoot outside anymore. And you get that self-satisfied feeling when you admire your cupboards stacked high with canned fruits and pickled things and imagine all the Christmas gifts you won't have to worry about later.

4. Winter
Winter is for reading seed catalogs in the bath tub. And sharpening your tools. 

The best antidote for that is harvest time. There is something so romantic and heart-warming about storing things for the Winter ahead. My Mom just gave me some raspberry freezer jam and I can't stop thinking about how amazing it's going to taste on a cold February morning. And she also made some blackberry lemon jam which failed to set up so I am looking forward to using it as a cordial and making fancy cocktails with it during the holidays.

I'm new at this whole food-preservation thing and am eager to try new things but also trying to be smart about it so I have things I actually eat and not 20 jars of pickles. 

Any of you pros have any words of advice--what are your favorite things to store for Winter? Should I buy a freezer? I dehydrator? One of my goals at my community garden plot was to grow things I can store, especially canning tomatoes. Things are just beginning to ripen up and I am looking forward to my first year of canning tomatoes. Stay tuned for my report and taste test. 






4 comments:

  1. We bought a dehydrator in a yard sale for $2.00 , it went unused all summer, till yesterday…I dried herbs !

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  2. Nothing beats pulling a jar of spaghetti sauce from the pantry shelf in the dead of winter...unless it's gazing at the jewel tones of a full pantry.

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  3. Beautiful post, and I love that artwork!

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  4. Really beautiful post. Nice work :) Keep writing and sharing with us :) Thank you for sharing :)

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