Yesterday, my daughter and I updated our kitchen calendar with events for the next couple of months. In the corner, I noted some projects I have planned for us to complete over Labor Day weekend–paint the bathrooms, steam clean the upstairs, and put the gardens to bed.
“‘Put the gardens to bed,'” my daughter exclaimed, “isn’t there a more technical term for that?” (For someone who’d rather pick up a cell phone than a hoe, who was she to be so persnickety?!)
“Well, many gardeners use that term,” I noted nonchalantly, and with that I snapped the top on the marker and walked away.
As I spent time homesteading in the kitchen that afternoon, I meditated on why I like the phrase “put the gardens to bed.” Perhaps, it connects me to the earth in a way that feels good–like a parent who gently tucks in her child each night before sleep comes. Maybe, it symbolizes the way I nurture my gardens as I carefully tend to them in preparation for winter.
Either way, I believe the phrase reminds me of what Autumn brings with her–a time for slowing down, a season of preparation.
Putting the gardens to bed in September removes any parts of the summer that may pull energy out of the soil. It also includes nourishing the dirt with organic amendments or mulch that will enrich the earth over the winter.
But most importantly, it creates the opportunity for Nature to “just be” with the Creator.
Sometimes, we forget the importance of preparing for rest–transitioning from an active life to a quiet one. If you have ever cared for little children, you know they cannot come right in from playing outside and head straight for a nap. They need to slow down first, prepare their little bodies for sleep, then head to bed.
It is the same for us as adults. Putting the gardens to bed reminds us to be intentional about resting in God on our journey.
As I walked into the kitchen this morning, I noticed the list again. I began making a mental checklist of all that I wanted to accomplish prior to Winter’s rest.
I smiled when I realized that I wasn’t focusing on Growing Grace Farm but about my own spirit.