I have a confession to make. I am only diligent to harvest my garden so that my husband will agree to me planting again in the spring. I love spring time, a time of coaxing seeds to sprout and finding pleasure in each new leaf. A time of lining all the pint-sized transplants up in beautifully straight rows and letting compost crumble through my fingers.
It’s not that I dislike harvest time. I have always planned my garden with intentions to harvest it. But after picking everything, I must leave the garden to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. While in the kitchen, I see the garden through the window, going wild with weeds. Pumpkins are engulfing the pole beans. The edible sunflowers are a confused mess, half leaning across the walkway, and the other half duking it out with the cucumbers on the trellis. The cucumbers are extending to the bell peppers and snapping whole branches off. To top it all off, the grass is over six inches long and the fruit tree suckers are two feet tall!
In my kitchen, in contrast to the fresh scene on my tile mosaic, the fruit flies are dancing around the overripe tomatoes. Some zucchini are beginning to look like a clown’s rubber bat; and I discover broccoli in the refrigerator that I should have frozen two weeks ago. The mold in the vegetable drawer displays hues to satisfy the most creative artist. I begin to be grateful that not every crop prospered.
I recently read a news article that was complaining about how much food is wasted in the USA. I wondered if the author has ever tried to predict crop size, manage food preservation, or anticipate appetites and winter storage needs! I share some of my harvest, but, rot though it may, there needs to be an abundance available if I’m going to have enough on hand to make the most of my harvesting efforts.
One year, my husband suggested I plant only flowers. He wouldn’t care if I harvested those. I only thought about it briefly. In spite of the chaos in my garden and kitchen during harvest time, the produce brings the whole garden to fulfillment. I am glad he encourages me to harvest the tasty fruit of my labor, and hold my vision of a perfect garden a little more loosely. Now, excuse me while I go save the carrots from the tomatoes.