Missing the Garden

The last of the tomato crop are racing to ripen on withering vines. The roselle is showing signs of cold damage and gaping holes are appearing in the garden beds where warm season annuals were once lush and thriving.

I feel blue. The garden season is winding down and while various contraptions will be employed to keep the food coming for some time yet, and even though several plants will join me indoors, creating a lush jungle in my office and the cold “greenhouse” out front, it’s just not the same.

Winter is not summer.

When I think of the months ahead, I can’t seem to get down with huddling up indoors plotting next year’s plan, nor can I anticipate the look of my new garden’s first winter. They are nice ideas, but I could do without them. Instead, I imagine myself cautiously traipsing into the garden in my bare feet to pick fresh herbs for dinner. I recall the heavy, smell of the sweet smell of the nicotiana flowers at night and rescuing the last head of sorghum from the squirrels. I don’t want that to end. I want it to keep going year-round. I want the roselle to get their chance to bloom. I want to cut back the hot peppers and the tomatoes and start anew. I want to be greeted each morning by a lush scene from my kitchen window and the promise of some new magic to discover.

I don’t want the long, cold break. I don’t want the slow, dark days and the blanket of winter to cover it all up. I don’t want to rest. I want to keep going.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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11 thoughts on “Missing the Garden

  1. Gayla, I’m in southern California and I still get seasonal depression.
    Right now we are having a week of warm weather after 3 days of hard rain….My poor lettuce seeds! Next will come the hot Santa Anna winds that will take every last leaf off the trees….Suppose we have weather and seasons to make us aware of the true beauty of spring…..and the contentment of summers…Just a thought.

  2. I can so relate!! Autumn is beautiful, but it’s edged with sadness that I won’t get to play in the garden for months on end. I’m not down with winter, either. I want to plant all the roses I didn’t get a chance to last spring and start all these seeds I have left over. Definitely don’t feel like I need a “rest” from gardening.

  3. I’m not at all excited about winter either! I want the warm sunny days of summer to last forever. I was so bummed out I actually bought a bunch of tropical plant seeds! My plan is to sprout them in the winter to have a little ‘tropical forest’ to distract me from the cold.

  4. Im glad the season is over ive run out of steam, will give it a go next year got some new idea`s and big plans. Theatre and Hockey season has arived.

  5. We don’t have a long winter here in the PNW and we can still grow cold season veggies through the winter, but….no tomatoes..eek no tomatoes!!!

  6. Hey Gayla,

    I had an idea for the cold “greenhouse”. I read about the non-profit Growing Power and how a couple of their hoop houses are semi heated by a compost pile? Is there room and enough plastic for something like that for you?

    Keep your chin up. Springtime seed planting will be here before you know it :-)

  7. I hear you. I always dread winter and I think this year is even worse because of the woefully short summer we had here in Saint John, which ended up being more rain than sun. I’m trying not to dwell because winter will be here soon enough, but it’s hard.

  8. If it’s any comfort, the moment I hear th cry of the first cicada here in the south, I begin to dread winter. With your words, I saw my own feet finding their way among the plants. There is no time that I am more content than when I am out in the green, surrounded by its quiet happiness. The best to everyone until all of us can be out again.

  9. Ciao Gayla-

    I completely understand and I think the only way to get around that is to move to a double digit growing zone. I don’t think I could grow a sustainable garden in a milder climate, though. I do get tired of creating every single meal from garden produce and all of the canning. My “vacation” is January – March, but I’m still threshing seed and planning the coming season’s garden, so it never really ends. The planning and anticipated seed parcels in my mailbox get me through, but I absolutely dread setting foot outside for months.

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