Kat: garden update, fall 2013

it looks like i didn’t manage a single photo-post about the garden this summer. i knew i was behind, but i thought maybe there’d been at least one. but this has been how the whole summer went: i was out a lot, travelling, focused on other things. summer was hot hot hot until the end of July when suddenly we got all 8″ of our average annual rainfall in just a few weeks. pow. not really a monsoon, more of a waterfall. fortunately, our land is flat, so it acts mostly as a water battery; we do not have the kind of run-off problems that are endemic during these storms.

what with it all, most of the garden just did not do that well this year. our spring greens experiment in selling excess lettuces was a success, but after that, most of it just sort of went to sunflowers. the guinea hens ate a bunch of stuff when it sprouted. we ate the guinea hens, and replanted some beans, but we didn’t really put much effort into the whole thing. then the irrigation system didn’t really work right, and we didn’t apply ourselves to figuring out why until fairly late in the year. (it’s old t-tape; it’s probably clogged with mineral sediment from our well-water. which has a pH of 8. i like that — it’s delicious, and full of dissolved calcium — but it is hard on plastics. we’ll be replacing the t-tape in the spring. and re-tilling with a tractor, because the soil compaction is also out of hand. yay, valley clay.)

it almost (almost!) froze two nights ago. it’s awfully early for that sort of thing! i have lit fires in the woodstove in my yurt the last two nights. but the garden is pretty done anyway, with the semi-feral turkeys nesting in it. we never successfully bred turkeys before. these ones were fighting with the younger birds, so we kicked them out of the pen and just let them roam, and before we knew it, they had 7 chicks. now there are 5 younguns, and they’re half-grown. we’re keeping them for 2014 thanksgiving harvest. it’s been nice to hear them percolating in the mornings as they browse through the herb garden right outside my bedroom door. the whole flock are genuinely free-range — which means they often bed in the tomatoes. we all just sort of gave up on caring too hard this year. the tomatoes came in pretty well, but they’re basically over now anyway. all we’re really picking right now is chard & basil. and chard will winter over.

so let the frost come. let the garden fall to fall. we have a couple months of firewood laid by, and more on the way. the harvest is as in as its going to get. it might as well get cold and kill all the bugs and bring us some more much-needed moisture.

after this month of intermittent downpours, we are all the way up to the low end of our average annual rainfall! after two years of not even that much, this is a substantial relief. we’re at over 8″ for the year. i’m measuring specifically on the farm; if you look at NOAA’s totals for Abq, they show higher — but we are south of town, and we’re in a rain shadow. our neighbor calls it the “Los Padillas Hole.” he says the Manzano Moutnains get all our rain. be that as it may, it’s not new, but it’s not that awesome, either. they are predicting a cold wet winter, and much as i hate the cold, i hope they are right. we need it.

and it’s time to put this summer to bed. to retreat into winter, into dark and quiet and stillness. to allow space for the turning dark, the velvet dark, the sweet slow unfolding of the nurturing, birth-giving dark.