Our back garden is done for this growing season.
Due to the rapidly changing weather and extraordinary neglect on our part, the squash, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, herbs, and cucumbers simply became overrun with weeds and started to die off.
One of the many cool things about plants is that, even as they are dying, they continue to produce fruit, flower, and seeds. I’ve written before about the bizarre produce martyrdom of tomato plants as they brown and wilt and fade, all the while offering a bounty of delicious fruit.
This end-of-life production is, ironically, what keeps the plants life cycle in motion. This is where we get seeds for next year’s planting.
Now, if we are too busy with the other parts of life to weed the garden, then we are definitely too busy to start figuring out how to collect, treat, and save seeds. This bums me out because, not only would it be a way to save money next spring, it would also be an amazing thing to be able to continue the cycle without outside help. We would simply save our seeds and plant them in the spring.
In the meantime, there is one seed that’s sort of a no-brainer (read: even I can do it) and that’s coriander.
Almost 20 years ago, I saw a gardener let her cilantro plants go to flower and wait for the plump, little seeds to appear. She cut them, bundled and bound them, and hung them upside-down. As the seeds dried out, they would fall into a screened plate she’d put below them. Voila! Coriander.
So, that’s my singular nod to seed saving and it helps me to feel better about myself and life in general to do it.
As for everything else in the garden, there really couldn’t be a better edible playground for the chickens, piglets, goats, and bees. All of these veggies exploding in a sea of flowers surrounded by weeds is about as good as it gets for the farm animals previously prevented from grazing this spot.
Since we have the World’s Fattest Goats, we probably shouldn’t leave them here for too long, but I’ve never really been good at saying no to these lovelies.
Obviously, the bees go wherever they please.
The broccoli flowers seem to hold a particular appeal this autumn. While there is still an abundance of goldenrod and other wildflowers growing within feet of the hives, this latest arrival would appear to have a stronger pull.
When I snapped this shot, there were hundreds of honeybees feasting upon the surrounding broccoli blossoms.
But best of all are the piglets.
The piglets have started venturing away from their mama in increasingly audacious outings.
Because they are little enough to fit underneath the electric wire in some spots, they have started slipping out throughout the day to see what’s happening elsewhere on the farm.
About three days ago, a small gang of them found a gap under the fence to the back garden. They have since been visiting the garden three, four, and five times per day, rooting around, and being generally adorable.
A pig learning to be a pig is a glorious and frolicsome affair.
And it involves a great deal of snout mud.
So, before we get out the tiller and turn over the back garden to prepare it for the fall, we will leave it for awhile to the browsing, rooting, scratching, and pollen-collecting of everyone else who lives here.