It was so so hot this summer, and so dry, that we basically gave up on the garden after about mid-June. When July 4th rolled around, (pumpkin planting day, if you want them by Halloween) I thought about how many gallons of water I'd have to pour on a tiny pumpkin plant to keep it alive through August, and said, maybe next year.
But then once it was semi-bearable outside again, we planted them anyway. And now we have pumpkins in December, even if I do have to run outside with an armful of sheets to tuck them in a couple nights a week.
I don't tuck the kale in, and it doesn't really seem to mind. Neither does the chard. These guys are just the eternal givers of the garden. Total workhorses. I haven't watered them in a month, I go out and break half of the plant off and then next time I go outside it's ready to be harvested again.
And oh how much the children will rejoice when there's finally no more left. But not today! sauteed chard for everyone! MWAHAHA!
These ladies will also rejoice if I call the garden done and let them clean up the leftovers. Early dark means we get fewer eggs, and the cold seems to make them a bit broodier than usual. The last hard freeze finished off the birdhouse gourds (which is good, because they were covering up the wiring on the outside of the house... they got... kind of aggressive there at the end). But there's still lots of bug-eaten salad greens and flattened squash leaves and little green bean shoots from various spilled seed packets.
My garden helpers, always there to insure that I'll never know what will come up where. They take their banished-outside microphones to the top of the playscape and give the neighborhood Christmas concerts, whether the neighbors want them or not. Coats over pajamas seems to be how we roll around here, on weekend days.
Anyway, that's the state of the garden, mid December. There are lots of things I'd like to do differently next time- I definitely learned stuff this year. I still don't quite feel like I get out of it what I put into it. I know that I'll keep learning, and every year I work in this garden, my soil will get better and easier to work with. I just want to be better at this! All at once! (One of the many things montage-to-upbeat-music-in-80's-movies has to answer for - I feel like I should just be able to put on some ABBA and BE GREAT AT THIS).
We're renters here, and so I don't want to make these big infrastructure investments with cedar raised beds and stuff... and I don't have the money to do that anyway. I just... work with what we've got. And that means we've got a lot of kale.
Good thing I like kale.