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Harvesting the garden

On the warm, sunny, fall afternoons, I enjoyed the task of “harvesting” my garden. Often my children joined me at the job and we made it a family event.

We loaded our wagon with peppers, cucumbers, carrots, pumpkins, beets, corn and potatoes. How blessed we were with the abundance of it all. My children were amazed at how a few small seeds could produce so much. I reflected back on the challenges of the growing season, the dry, cool spring when the seeds laid dormant in the soil for weeks, the endless weeding and watering and the plants that could have done a little better with just a few more weeks to grow. But those trials were soon forgotten as we enjoyed the fresh garden produce. I can still see the images of my children, barefoot in the garden, tasting the fresh peas or young carrots. How excited they were when the corn was ready to eat! All summer long our garden provided for us.

But as the geese fly overhead, I am reminded of fall and that the growing season has come to an end. The onions have been hung in the sun to dry and the carrots are washed, bagged and stored in the fridge. The corn has been husked, blanched and frozen, the potatoes dug and the pumpkins were perfect for Halloween. When the last of the cucumber vines were hauled away I knew I would miss the taste of fresh cucumbers. Luckily some of them became pickles and will be enjoyed later on. The bright sunflower heads have turned to brown, filled with seeds that will help feed the birds throughout the winter. Preparing the vegetables for storage seemed like a lot of work, but I knew we would enjoy the fruits of our labour in the coming months.

Part of me is sad and part of me relieved that the growing season has ended. Having a garden is labour intensive, but we truly enjoy all that it produces. While the winter ahead may seem long, soon the seed catalogues will arrive and we’ll be planning our garden once again.

After all of the vegetables and plants are cleared away, the garden gets tilled and harrowed – and then left to rest… until next year when the season begins again.

– Tanya Unrau writes from Boissevain, Manitoba

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