To every thing there is a season

A time to plant, a time to reap…

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A time to build up, a time to break down…

Today I put the NH garden to bed for the fall, just in time for the rain. I pulled several wheelbarrows full of skeletal cornstalks, frost-blasted tomato vines, broccoli gone wild, and giant zucchini, and heaped them on the compost pile to decay. I borrowed a nice old rototiller from the neighbor, and turned in everything that was left. While I had the machine, I also increased the size of the garden by a fair margin by chewing up the grass around the perimeter, so as to boost vegetable production next summer. It’s truly remarkable how much handwork a quart or two of petroleum can replace, even with the crummy efficiency of a single-cylinder air-cooled engine.

Rather than leave the soil bare all winter, I raked the leaves off the yard and spread them over the freshly turned ground, and spread 80 pounds of lime over them to balance the pH and assist with decay. I didn’t have quite enough leaves, but the neighbors did, and strangely enough they didn’t mind me raking them up and hauling them to my yard by wheelbarrow. There may come a time when people don’t give away valuable organic matter so easily.

I pulled out the garden hose one last time and set the sprinkler going to mat down the leaves and keep them from blowing all over the neighborhood. The north wind rattled the trees, and steel gray clouds gradually blotted out the sun – November.

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