One of my favorite times of year is when its time to break down the garden for the season.
Change is one of the only reliable truths in life, and autumn represents the idea of transition perfectly. All the green from the spring and summer are suddenly set ablaze with fire and gold, and the air is electrified with bustling animals preparing for the impending winter. I too am preparing. This is the time of year when I break down the garden, reflect on the past seasons, and readjust my focus to thinking what’s ahead. Composting is one of my favorite ways to do this. It’s methodical, and a gives my mind time to wander.
I am lucky enough to have a mature Horse Chestnut Tree in the back of my yard. It shades the area heavily in the summer, making the land unusable for gardening. However, in the fall it gives back with a plethora of leaves. It’s more than enough to collect, process, and replenish my compost before winter.
I usually start by raking the leaves into large, broad piles. I then run those over with my electric mower. By chopping the large leaves into smaller, more digestible bits I can expedite the compost process. Once I have my leaves ready, I work on pulling the garden for the season and add the greenery to the compost pile. I put my garden “to bed” for the winter by covering them with the freshly cut leaves. This helps to protect the soil, and the ecosystem inside.
It’s a strange feeling to kill the plants I’ve spent most of the year cultivating, especially since they have provided me with so much. But everything has an end, which is another reliable truth in life.
I did have one last harvest before the season was completely over. Raspberries keep giving, even into the late autumn in my area. I planted 2 raspberry plants a couple years ago, and this year was the first time I got a decent yield. I was able to harvest handfuls of berries as the fruit matured, and even on this day of fall cleanup I was able to enjoy a final treat from my garden.