Posts Tagged ‘Garden Wisdom’

A 24 Carat Harvest

Happy 2022! This all came together so organically — pun intended — that I had to share.

On New Year’s Eve, I did a few sessions but had the afternoon marked off on my calendar to do a final harvest of the 2021 garden. This plan occurred due to incoming weather, not as a year end ritual, but it ended up being just that.

We’ve had temperatures down to the mid-twenties, and kale, collards, mustard greens, and lettuce survive just fine at those temps. We’re set to dip into the low teens, which meant I needed to harvest since I don’t put row covers in the front yard. I also wanted to dig out any remaining carrots from the top of the Garden Tower before the soil froze.

As I harvested brassicas and herbs, I also cut back spent blooms from late Fall. I piled my harvest on the bench, and hauled the withered parts to our yard waste bin. Each time I added to the harvest pile, a blessing from 2021 crossed my mind. Each trip to the yard waste bin, I thought of something that had already served its purpose and would drop away. I spent over an hour of literal harvesting and composting, all the while pondering the metaphorical implications for 2021.

I used to host Wheel of the Year celebrations, and I designed rituals to reflect each turn of the Wheel — each festival of change. I could not have created a more contemplative ritual to unite body, mind and spirit. You can see my front yard harvest piled on the bench:

Next, I went to the backyard, wondering what usable treats I’d find there. Not only did I gather more greens, but I kept pulling carrots from the top of the Garden Tower. I couldn’t believe how many lay under the soil there, with very little evidence on top.

These grew with no effort on my part. In early Fall, I scattered seeds in less than a minute on top of the Garden Tower. They weren’t ready when the growing season ended, because I planted them late, but because of a mild Fall, they’re fully grown now. It was a delightful surprise to have so many, so large and so sweet! That felt emblematic of things to come.

I munched on three fresh carrots as I washed and chopped all the herbs, greens (purples!), and onion.

At dinner, I told David I had harvested “probably more than 20 carrots,” and he said, “A 24 carat harvest.”

I got curious so pulled out the photo on my phone to count how many. “Oh, it’s 27 carrots.” Then I realized, “I ate three! I did have a 24 carrot harvest.” (You might count 28 in the photo, but one of the carrots broke, so it’s really 27 whole carrots, minus the three I ate, leaving a 24 carrot harvest.)

The term “24 carat” refers to pure gold, so I had a “pure gold harvest,” plus three for me! This feels so symbolic of my entire 2021. The year involved some hard work and challenges, but overall I experienced massive blessings. I feel so much gratitude for the bounty of life, and so satisfied to compost that which no longer serves:

This ritual occurred in a spontaneous, organic way, but I encourage each of you to take stock of your year. What did you harvest? What can you compost? What surprise blessings did you receive along the way?

I wish each and every one of you a 2022 full of unexpected, sweet and nourishing delights.