A harvest holiday

I took a week off last week, spending most of my holiday time tending to my 33-by-30-foot garden.

I took a week off last week, spending most of my holiday time tending to my 33-by-30-foot garden — harvesting zucchini (lots of it), peas, beans, green onions, herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash, and freezing much of my pickings so they will last the winter.

I also harvested buckets of weeds that I had been neglecting over the summer — most of those went to my mother’s chickens.

My spouse and I started our garden from scratch in the spring, pulling root wads, sticks, logs, rocks, and boulders out of a large mound of dirt, placing logs around the perimeter so we could have a raised garden, then putting up six-foot fencing to keep the deer out and adding extra soil and fertilizer (from the chickens) before finally planting all of our seeds. It also took a fair bit of time planning it all out, making sure that the onions wouldn’t be next to the peas and beans since certain plants make nasty neighbours for others.

Keeping a garden is a lot of work, but it is so worth it. Our stocked freezer proves it and there is still more to pick, pack, and freeze. If I want a salad, all I have to do is head outside to the garden and pick romaine and leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, and kale, wash off the dirt, and voila! I have a salad, as fresh as it can be, and it tastes delicious.

There is something strangely satisfying about having control over what I eat, knowing exactly where it comes from, that it is fresh and safe, and that I had a hand in creating it. I also get to be outside in the pure summer air, hanging out with my cat, who shares my garden joys by napping between the tomato plants.

Nothing can beat that feeling.

Those entering their garden produce at the Harvest Fair this weekend know what I am talking about and the pride that comes from picking the absolute perfect spud or beet — one of my acorn squashes seems pretty amazing to me! Though I don’t have any entries in the fair that takes place this weekend at Stampede Park,  the event is definitely something to check out.

If, for some strange reason, vegetables just aren’t your thing, there are also flowers, blankets, artwork, clothing, and pie, to name a few (and who doesn’t love pie?) You all should take it in — a lot of hard work, and love, has gone into the event and the entries that deserve much appreciation and admiration.

— Erin Hitchcock