Through much of the summer, while working alongside Caroline and Laura, it was easy to see why some might call us garden slaves. Long days and endless wheelbarrows full of mulch, weeds, and compost getting carted every which way in the garden. Needless to say I would end each day feeling heavier than big blue is full of weeds (our favorite wheelbarrow that weighs more empty then most wheelbarrows do full). But as the summer deepens and fall sights begin to appear on the horizon a bittersweet change is happening in the garden.
The fruits of our labor all through June and July are finally starting to ripen which means less slave work and more munching and preserving. Each day is filled with harvesting more fresh produce from the garden then I ever thought possible when I started here back in June. The garden poundage grows more and more each day which means food preservation is in full swing. Pickled beans, beets, and cucumbers, jams, jellies, syrups, dried fruit, canned fruit, you name it and we have probably preserved it. These days you are just as likely to see us in the kitchen as you are in the garden.
The bitter has been the sending off of Laura and Caroline with whom I have cultivated a strong friendship more pungent then the lingering smell of fresh compost on a hot July afternoon. As to the sweet, the harvesting of beans, pears, potatoes, onions, apples, and new friendships with our most recent additions to the garden intern clan, Leila and Louise.
We only preserve food we have an excess of which means that there is lots of fresh food coming from the garden that is becoming a large component of our community dinners. To me this is the most exciting part. I find it somewhat rebellious and freeing to make dinner where the only part of it that comes from the store are un-growable goods. The feeling is not just satisfying, it also is delicious.
As sad as it is to bid our farewells to summer and new friends, the anticipation fruitful harvests dulls the pain just as a dash (or a mountain) of sugar masks the astringent taste of a bowl full of freshly picked aronia berries.
by Madeline Johnston, Garden Intern 2013
Garden bloggers are community members, volunteers and interns at Songaia.