I worked outside a little today, cleaning up the branches from the mosquito bush (I had piled them, meaning to bundle them and put them out for trash, and then Eric had mowed the lawn and so needed to move them, so they had ended up in a mess right where they started) and trimming the lilac tree and cleaning up the vegetable garden. This included taking down the sunflowers, and if their roots weren’t so shallow I would have had to chop them down like trees. They became another bundle for the trash collectors. The ground was littered with sunflower seed shells left by avid birds earlier this season. I’m glad sunflowers are annuals; if not, I’m pretty sure they would have taken over the world by now.

I found a lone jalapeño pepper on the sad denuded pepper plant. It (the pepper, not the plant) looked pretty wholesome in the middle of the mess of zucchini leaves. I found an onion. I also found several other onions, where I had planted the extra sets in the hopes they would deter insects, sprouting. I guess the lesson here is to lift onions earlier in the season if you’re not growing them for seed. (I left two. I’ve never seen onions flowering.)

I cleared out all the detritus, the dead bean vines and the living nasturtiums, leaving the herbs, the carrots, one lone broccoli plant, and the row of Swiss chard, which isn’t looking so well-groomed these days but is still going strong. I planned to spread compost over everything and then move the detritus to the compost bin (not that it would have all fit), but it got dark. As I worked I thought about my plans for next year, and how the spacing will work, and what I’ll have to do to the dirt in various places, things I had little to no idea about last year.

There’s almost nothing in the garden now, but it’s definitely a garden; this time last year it was mostly grass and a lot of weeds in the raised bed, and now it’s soft, newly-raked dirt, done with one good year and getting ready to rest before taking on another. I leaned on my rake at one point to look around at the bare dirt, and oddly, I don’t think I’ve been prouder to say “This is my garden” than right then.

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