Harvest Time

Harvest Time.

For avid gardeners the end of summer is a bittersweet time.  Plants are at full bloom or dying off.  Time for drying herbs, collecting seeds, canning and freezing what you can, and tossing the remnants into the compost heap.

At this moment I’ve canned 14 quarts of greens, 12 quarts of dill pickles (5 went bad), 6 pints of bread and butter pickles, and 8 pints of peppers.  The tomatoes haven’t ripened yet.  I need to place them in a better spot next year.  But still, I end up tossing the lions’ share of my veggies into the compost.  So much so that I have a second compost pile for the overflow.

The first one has yet to pay for itself.  It’s a fancy black number from the local Lowe’s and cost me eighty dollars.  I figure I have yielded about ten bucks worth of soil and compost from it in the last two years and I doubt it will last long enough to break down scraps for another eight years.  The second heap is just some old chicken wire in a loose oval.  Everything goes in that one, grass clippings, coffee grinds, blackberry canes, and general distasteful junk.  It’s the junk drawer of the garden.

And as much as I abuse or neglect that organic wastebin, it thrives.  There are potato plants and onions growing in it.  Those were the leftover seedlings, the ones too dried up and desiccated to put in a container or raised bed.  These underdog plants were rarely watered and never cared for.  But they survived the blistering heat better than the ones growing in the containers.  I pulled some tiny spuds from my ‘cultivated’ plants while the red-haired stepchild plants yielded tubers to rival the best Idaho has to offer.

It makes me wonder about the stories I have cast aside.  Ones that were written for a prompt on a site that never got past that weeks challenge, never cultivated for publication.  I haven’t touched them or submitted them because I just didn’t want to work on them, I was cultivating other stories that deserved my attention more.  The thing is, I like those stories in their raw form.  They may have some blemishes here and there but those stories may sustain me through the long winters more than the cultivated ones.

I think it’s time to give the ugly ducklings their time in the sun, let them spread their wings and see where they may end up.

I started this blog with a platform challenge, finished it, and really let it go.  It’s time to challenge myself to get more work out there, the good the bad and the ugly.

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