The last two weeks we have been busy putting the garden to bed for the winter. I like that phrase…I see myself tucking nice warm blankets around the garden beds as they nod off for the winter. Having a garden is a lot like having children….it is lots of work, you never know what you will find the next day, you get very attached very quickly, it exasperates you but is very rewarding at the same time and it requires daily prayer and attention or it goes to ruin!
We pick the last of the veggies as we go along. Yesterday I made the final gallon of fresh salsa with the jalapenos, tomatoes, tomatillas, and cilantro….yummy! We freeze our excess of those things during the summer. I lay them out on cookie sheets and by the next morning they are ready for the big freezer. They look and sound like giant colorful marbles! We put a large bucket (or several) in the bottom of a chest freezer and just drop those frozen goodies in them all summer long. Then during the winter we can thaw out a bowl full and make salsa that tastes so good and fresh – almost like we just picked it! We love spicy food at our house and going months without homemade salsa just won’t fly. I can’t abide the stuff in the store ….what do they make that from? I have tried canning salsa and freezing salsa but it just tastes better and is a lot less watery if I make it fresh.
We take out the larger plants and till in the smaller ones and then we sow a cover crop to help build the soil for next year. Our favorite mix is cereal rye, austrian peas and red clover. This protects the soil over the winter and adds great nitrogen to the bed when we till it under next year.
Although I am glad we are finishing up with this garden, it always makes me a little sad….sort of like saying good bye to someone you care about. I guess it comes from spending so much time in the garden. We are so thankful to God for His provision through our garden, it has kept us well fed all summer and now the shelves are lined with rows of colorful jars for the winter. Isn’t God good?