Closing up Victory Gardens for the Winter
If you’re one of those people who spends time outside and is attuned to the passage of seasons – (and there’s a whole lot of people nowadays who aren’t!) – you’ll know that harvest time is upon us.
At GTKYF, we’re getting ready to close down our victory garden plots and get everything stored away for the winter. That requires some considerable planning and attention to the natural rhythms of the earth – something that corporate agriculture masks from the public, shipping fruits and vegetables halfway around the world.
When you work in an office and stay inside your home to avoid unpleasant temperatures, and buy your food from corporate shelves, you don’t really see the seasons changing first-hand. You might put up paper Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, but never really engage the reality – that the earth moves in a steady, secure cycle. Historically, humans were more in tune with the earth – and now that we’re kind of estranged from it, we feel the negative effects.
That’s why working in a garden or with small farmers is so therapeutic, and why it’s so much a part of what we do.
Bringing in the Sheaves
First, there’s the harvest. We look at what can be salvaged late in the season, and how to glean the most from our beautiful gardens before we put an end to the growing season. After that, we get the materials and equipment put away – any fencing, and all of those implements that are so useful in the spring, have to go to storage locations. That goes for irrigation equipment, too.
All of this requires some space and some preplanning. As you know, produce is not something that stores well. It’s perishable. That means you either prepare it for storage – (canning, freezing, etc.) or you use it. So if you have a harvest surplus, time is of the essence. Anything that isn’t saved gets thrown away.
Then you have to have adequate space for the gear that you use to garden. There are certain things that any farmer can’t do without. Even if it’s just a small plot, trying to garden without the right tools sets you up for eternal struggle.
Planning for Next Year
Most farmers understand that process of starting to plan for the next year as soon as the year’s crop is harvested. You’re looking at any cover crops necessary, as well as planning for your seed stock. It takes more effort now to maintain independent seed stocks, since Monsanto continues its dedicated effort to try to build legal ownership of the plant DNA that we get straight from mother nature. Small farming operations know how evil this is, as do most consumers, but the legal system lets it happen anyway. That just goes to show you how much corruption there is in systems that are supposed to be handling agriculture in America.
Anyway, another part of planning involves thinking about how to enhance small farming operations. Throughout the winter, we think about how to improve our garden experience. We look at what people actually buy and eat – and we think about crop rotation and changing what we plant.
All of that is part of the vibrant process of running victory gardens and community gardens in an area known for its fertile soil and great growing conditions.
Winter is also a great time to think about getting involved in the spring. Maybe you’re someone whose property doesn’t have very much room for gardening. Maybe your town’s community gardens went belly-up because they decided to build a subdivision there. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is getting paved over at an astounding rate – but thanks to farm preservation and other factors, there is still open land available for growing natural food and feeding our families.
If you have a desire to get involved, join our mailing list now and get information on our next year’s victory gardens. We have the land and the know-how and a lot of the equipment. If you have the passion, we can work together to promote local sustainable agriculture and battle big ag in Lancaster County, across the country and around the world. Tell us how you’d like to be involved and we can make it happen! Talk to GTKYF about all of the collaboration that goes into growing food locally, and what you can do to contribute. See you in the spring and make sure to subscribe to this site and stay up to date on all of our articles and updates.