Letting it go to Seed

parsley2It’s the time of year when gardeners begin to harvest the last of their summer crops and letting some plants go to see. Every year, I let a few of my plants flower and go to seed. Although I intend to do this to save on seeds the following year, I end up buying new seeds anyway. But, they’re also nice to share and use, especially if you had a great crop this year.

The end of the season

Everything is dead in the garden. Well, not everything. The sunflowers are having their last hurrah. Since I planted them late, they didn’t grow quite as tall, but are still enjoying the last warm days nonetheless. The last of the cilantro is flowering and going to seed, and I finally dug up the one single garlic bulb that managed to grow this year.

The garden in more verdant times.

The garden in more verdant times.

At this point, I’ve pulled up the bird netting and let the chickens have at the garden scraps (although they got a bit aggressive with one of my strawberry plants, those jerks!). They’ve cleared away most of the scraps.

New garlic bulbs are in the ground, covered in straw for the winter. Kale, lettuce and chives are in the ground under a makeshift cold frame made from a glass shower door we found on the property. In the vegetable garden, the waiting begins.

Now is the lull between the harvest and when the first seed catalogues come in the mail. It’s the time to dream about next year’s garden, assess what crops worked this year, and plan what to grow next year.

While the plants and organic matter are breaking down, it’s the soil’s time to rebuild. Although it doesn’t seem like much is going on, in reality a ton of stuff is happening beneath the soil, all of which is important for the health of the soil and the health of the plants that will grow in it next year.