Fall is about Patience

File this post under philosophical ruminations. As the holidays careen toward us, we might feel a twinge of anxiety to hurry up and plant the garden, or to harvest, or to shut it down for the season, depending on where you live. The urge to rush through the process before holiday craziness arrives is strong. We planted our fall crops in stages as the weather cooled down (really it was more like a raid on the garden. As soon as temps dropped below 70º we screamed, “NOW, GO, GO!” and descended upon our raised beds with seed trays in tow). Now, after all that excitement, the prospect of waiting 21 days for carrots to sprout feels like an eternity. Won’t it be Christmas by then! Well, at least Thanksgiving.

Gardening is entirely about patience. Waiting for seeds to germinate, for sprouts to generate true leaves, for the right weather to transplant out, for crops to mature. Along the way we steward these plants. We fend off pests and vermin. We wait for those first succulent lettuce leaves and early radishes.

Lettuces and Arugula send out colorful leaves

Patience

Last November we planted leeks and green onions. For some reason we can’t explain, they sat there all winter, doing nothing. Such a different experience from every other year! In spring they slowly grew, just in time to avoid the swift hand of termination, and now one year later we have something to show for it. Behold the year-long-leeks:

They’re perfect and beautiful, just slow to mature.

More Patience

We also let the rats get out of hand this summer. When they finally discovered our tree kale, started eating the leaves to nubbins every night, something in me snapped. For the past week Team Gardenerd has set out 14 traps baited with fresh almond butter every night. We’ve successfully caught 4 rats so far. Diligence + patience = safe plants. Sometimes these are the only weapons we have.

rat eaten tree kale

The last straw.

Sprouting Potatoes = Watching Water Boil

Timing is everything when it comes to planting potatoes. We recently wrote a blog post about sprouting potatoes in hopes of giving our fellow Gardenerds a heads-up about how long the process takes. We’re waiting on our own potatoes at the moment. It’s been weeks with only the tiniest hint of sprouting. To speed things up, we threw in an onion. It’s working!

sprouting potatoes with onion

You’re not supposed to store onions and potatoes together, because they cause each other to sprout. So naturally…

But we’re still waiting. We’re waiting to harvest the first kale leaves, to thin the lettuce seedlings, to eat the oranges ripening on the tree (we tasted a few so far – so tart, but so good!). The only thing to do now is to be in the moment.

Enjoy the Process

Before Turkey Day, before garlands, before dreidels and Black Friday sales, let’s enjoy the process; this quiet time before chaos, when the garden makes us wait for what nature soon will bring. Every day as I peak under floating row cover to check on broccoli, cabbages, and kohlrabi, I eagerly anticipate what is to come. This patience thing, it’s the stuff of life.

8 different kale varieties are protected by floating row cover. No cabbage moths/worms here!

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