As of 2pm yesterday, the community garden was officially put to bed for the season.
It was wonderful how much folks wanted to participate because there was a lot to get done. Friday afternoon I prepped the fields by winding up the irrigation system and stowing the 22 tomato cages that had supported our friendly little nightshades all season long. Saturday, three pickup trucks full of manure were unloaded and carted by wheelbarrow down the rows of the field garden; these were then raked into place. The process continued on Sunday, and extra lime was added to the beds to lessen the acidity. Lastly, hay bales were hauled to each of the rows and laid down in sheets to help protect the manure as it composts over the next several months.
The whole process took four days, with multiple people putting their energy into the project. But my body and soul were singing the entire time. Working the land, preparing for the winter—it puts everything in perspective. Somehow the woes of the world just don’t seem that pressing anymore. Your body aches with a righteous soreness that comes from being full engage, fully present, in a very old tradition. You’re connecting with your neighbors, and the bonds that are built during field time will sustain you all until the coming of spring.
It’s my hope that we can get more of the community involved with the garden next year. If this fall’s turnout was any indication, we may be well on our way towards creating excitement for the spring planting. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to create enough food for at least three of the common meals during the summer. It’s an ambitious goal, but one worth trying for.