Every other week, I get together with the Food and Water Security (F&WS) program side of Happy Dancing Turtle. For the last several months, we’ve been putting together a podcast that covers the struggles (and successes) of working in a garden. We sit inside around the conference table with two microphones positioned to get everyone’s voice just so. We talk about the weekly CSA, if any problems came up during harvest (such as varmints or other critters), and other things that we think people would like to hear.
During one session we discussed how, despite planning, scheduling, and forecasting, the frost hit a bit earlier than expected and pushed up “putting the garden to bed” element of the work, probably by two weeks. I ribbed Jim C, our F&WS manager, that next year he’ll have to use science to best predict when the crops will eventually finish their season. I was surprised by his reply.
“There is a definite science behind the workings underneath the ground and when plants best grow, but working with a garden is also an art.”
He explained that to work with a garden, and living things such as plants and ecosystems, is to know an art form.
The seasons have rhythms. Things will get warm, things will grow, things will bloom, things will be harvested, and then, eventually, gradually or suddenly, things will be ready to start over.
That’s where we’re at now. In central Minnesota, we get only a limited amount of time before the garden needs to go home; now is the time where it needs to go home and turn off the lights.
However, following Jim’s logic, there are many ways to make sure your garden is ready for next year. There are methods that we can only suggest, simply because gardening is not a science. It’s an art form.