We are working in the garden in our woolies now. In about one week in mid-November, late summer turned to early winter. Plants that had been basking in mellow sunshine were suddenly accosted by gale force winds and horizontal rains. Nighttime temperatures have dipped into the 30s and even 20s. And yet, the plants have proven their resilience. They seem to be thriving.
It always seems strange that our big growing season here is the winter. Gardening magazines always show shirt-sleeved, straw-hatted people working in full sun, smiling amid summer veggies and flowers. And don’t we live in sunny California? And yet here in the foothills summer is challengingly dry and hot, even for summer standards like tomatoes and squashes, while the cool-to-cold winters, bringing the blessed rain, see multiple beds of greens and root crops swell into happy fruition.
There is a line of new peas popping up along a trellis in the hugelkulture. They are babies, just now lifting their heads above the mulch. Last night was really cold and frosty, often a death knell for plants. Yet this morning the peas are perky as ever. You just have to salute them!
And it is a mystery that never ceases to amaze, that all of this green growth, all this fecundity, springs from the dead looking little bits that are the seeds. Last week we planted several hundred more. In a few months we will be fed by what they will become.
So we enter the garden wrapped in our woolies and in our appreciation. Paraphrasing Mary Oliver: Let us keep our attention on what matters, which is our work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.