When I was in high school, my parents embarked on a major home renovation. They closed in the carport of our 1940s-era modernist house, and turned it into a dining room and foyer. They knocked out the wall between the teeny, outdated kitchen and combined the original dining room and kitchen into an eat-in kitchen with a waist-high counter around the kitchen table.
Part of the counter became the catch-all for anything made of paper: junk mail. Real mail. Newspapers. Manuals for a variety of small appliances. When we’d have a dinner party, we’d carry the six or eight piles into my parents’ bedroom and put them all on the floor. When everyone left, we’d carry everything back out, and resume normal operations as a family of pilers. I don’t remember a time when the piles ever really went away – they just got shorter from time to time.
Please note, we had full use of all areas of the carpet in our house. This was a nexus of clutter, not a symptom of a disorder.
If there’s any question about my genetic status, it is answered by the fact that I have my own piles. One, of books, on a shelf in our living room. One, of papers, next to my desk on the floor. One, of magazines, on a shelf in the kitchen.
It’s not that I don’t like things put away in their place. But when the choice is between piling and completely putting away, I’m a piler.
But here’s the thing. With the garden, I don’t have that option. There’s still lettuce growing, and we can put off the clean-up process for a few weeks, probably, but not forever. At some point, it’s going to be too unpleasant to be outside for long. Even though there are still peppers and eggplants and tomatoes actually growing out there, defying the laws of nature and the odds of time, soon, action will be required.
Part of this is related to the fact that we rent, rather than own. It’s not like it’s our yard that we’d be leaving scraggled up.
I know I’m going to need to pick a weekend day and go out there and take care of things. I can’t just pile up the containers, filled up with dirt, in a stack. (Although, it must be said that Steve suggested that we do just that…) I can’t wait and deal with them in April.
The trouble is…I’m really not even sure where to start. Can I leave any of our plants in the ground? And what do we do with all the dirt in our container festival?
I’ve looked around for good, consolidated resources…a how-to, perhaps, for first-time gardeners. But I haven’t found the right thing quite yet.
Commenters, you’ve come through before on this little adventure. How do you wrap the season in your vegetable gardens? What resources have you found to help you through the transition out of fall and into winter?