When it’s just too hard to say goodbye…

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Today is October 28th.
I had every intention of pulling everything out of the garden today.
Just like I had that same intention last week.

I have a bad habit of wanting everything just “so” in my life…everything has it’s place and when it’s time to clean, you need a fresh slate in order to feel like you can move forward.
That means this time of year, when I need patience in the garden to understand that everything takes it’s course and is ready to be harvested when “it” says it’s ready, is exceptionally difficult for me.
Most people I know have pulled everything out of their gardens and have gotten ready for the winter solstice (doesn’t that sound just so old-fashioned?  I love it!!).  But many “seasoned” gardeners, who know how to get the last bit of goodness from the ground, have quite a ways to go before they say goodbye.  In my heart I want to be “seasoned”…but I’m not and I need patience here too.

It was a beautiful sunny day and it was a perfect day to close the garden. But, what I saw were beautiful plants that just weren’t ready.  I think some of them even spoke to me…crazzzy…
I realized that Mother Nature has given us a decent autumn with enough sunshine and warm weather to stretch out our season just a little bit more…

So this is what I did today…

I have cabbages…lots of them…enough for all of you…
But, we planted them too late and they are going to be “wee” cabbages.  But my dad, aka the “seasoned” gardener, said keeping them in the ground to experience a touch of cold (even frost) makes them extra sweet.
Winter lettuces that we planted when the spring mix was getting tough, are still good.  The raddichio is starting to make its way into a ball and the bitter greens are good even in soup (kinda like swiss chard).
I picked a handful of swiss chard…probably the last handful that will be enough to make a complete meal.  But, I couldn’t take these last leaves out of the ground yet…they looked like they were getting a suntan and who am I to disturb them?
And the parsley?  Look at this beauty!  It is hearty and healthy and I just didn’t have the heart to say goodbye.  It is starting to get a bit woody (tough stalks) but there are still lots of tender parts left…
Here is the mint….mojitos here we come!  If you can breathe, you can grow mint. Just don’t plant it where you want to contain it and not have it spread…it is virtually impossible (but leaving it in it’s original container and planting it directly into the ground will keep it at bay)
The rosemary usually isn’t ready to pull with everything else at the end of the summer (it’s not as gentle as basil).  I actually use it until the first snowfall.  It is so woody that it has good staying power.  It will turn dark but is still great.
Next time you have a party, take some woody stalks (either from your garden or at the store) and take the bottom “leaves” off each stalk, exposing the woody part of the stalk and use it like a skewer to thread chicken on…it gives such a unique flavour and it is so pretty on a plate.
The lavender is going strong…still fragrant but I should cut it and dry it for the winter, being careful not to cut it too far back like I did last year.
This sage reminds me of Tuscany where the woman who cooked all the meals made a fantastic appetizer of sage leaves sandwiched with an anchovy, dipped in a batter and then deep fried…heavenly!!
So this is the final of the famous song trio…parsley, sage rosemary and…thyme! This is a variegated variety and so healthy.  These herbs (except for the parsley and rosemary) are all perennials so they will be back next year!
I found a bed of cammomile…it usually grows in the spring but this weather has confused it!  That’s okay…it will come back next year!
I picked one head of raddichio for a friend and I pulled all of my leeks…maybe for a leek and potato soup later in the week!
One bed closed (except for the grapevine – that stays!!)
And the other bed almost closed (except for the second batch of cabbages).  Like I said…there is one for each of you!
Time to put away the stakes until next year…
And the canoe…
The lake, in all it’s glory, is clear and cold.  All the geese and the handful of swans that keep me company all summer are gone to warmer climates.  It’s beautiful but quiet.
Fall is a beautiful time of year…probably my favourite.  On a crisp sunny day, when you realize that we as Canadians live in what seems like the most exceptional place on earth (except for the month of February), it doesn’t get better than this…