Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Today I harvested the last of my pumpkins, heavy and silver skinned, triumphant amongst their whithering vines. The leaves and stems were already dying back from the first, slightly timid frosts of the season so it felt good to clear them away and turn over the earth. Such amazing plants to grow, such rewarding fruits of not too much labour. Huge leaves and vigorous, questing shoots that would happily have taken over if I'd let them and all from small, altogether humble seeds.

So the shoots and stems have gone to the compost heap to rot down and diminish, the glorious fruits with their hidden golden hearts taken indoors. Next year I'll grow some orange pumpkins and I'll know to plant fewer seeds, or be more ruthless with my thinning, and train them up a trellis from the start. Next year maybe the butternut squash will come to fruit. Next year or the year after. But for now the soil is turned over and green manure sown. Today I've proudly gathered what I wanted to grow and the rest has been cleared away and I've even started to prepare to begin again. Those stems and leaves which were so impressive and vital will all rot down, decompose and release into the earth. And their compost will help me nourish my crops next year.

It's not a subtle metaphor, what my little garden teaches me about life. The mistakes and mixed results that teach me to try things differently next time. Unexpected joys and wonders and things which are good enough to eat. Spring and summer, autumn and winter, they'll all roll around again and again whether I get my hands dirty or not.

And tonight a perfect half moon wanes overhead, balanced at the edge of its transformation into the slim sickle of the crone's moon. A veiled goddess beckons from the dark half of the year and I will toast her with apple juice and pomegranate.

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