The next few days mark the traditional end to the gardening season, with the celebration of St. Martinmas. All in garden tasks are completed, while homesteading work moves indoors for the winter and livestock are returned to barns after herds are culled. This is the beginning of "natural winter"--not calendar winter. Feasting on the final garden and butchered bounty continues for a few weeks until Advent brings a period of fasting.
"Snow on St Martinmas, snow on Christmas"
My final return to the garden over these next few days, will find me digging the last of the carrots, beets, onions, radishes and harvesting some hardy greens like chard and beets. The roots will be loosly packed in baskets and moved to the root cellar---AFTER I take a nice mix to roast for a final harvest feast. The greens will go into a brothy soup with some beans and the rest, blanched and put in the freezer. Also on my "Must Do" list is one more digging of yellow dock, burdock, dandelion and valerian roots to be tinctured or cut and dried for teas and elixirs.
The more mundane garden cleanup is obviously less fun, but going through and pulling up stakes, fencing and putting away all my decorations and statues, allows me a final assessment and some thoughts about the successes and failures of the year.
The root cellar will become full over the next few days, but supplies will begin to dwindle with all the upcoming holidays that call us to feast and give thanks: Thanksgiving, Channukah and Christmas.