Gifts

evening sunflowersThere’s a part of the field grown up in weeds that I’ve been telling people is being left fallow accidentally on purpose. I grew vegetables on it last year, and this year I intended to plant it in clover and leave it be. But when the cold spring delayed my primary tillage, that area was the only part of the field I could work, so I changed my plans and started planting there. Then, in June, with all the rain, that section turned out to be too wet to cultivate, and the weeds took over much of it. So I changed plans again and intended to plow it all under in the summer once the few crops planted there were harvested.

But as the season progressed, in among the weeds, I found all sorts of volunteer plants self-seeded from what I grew last year: some winter squash, a couple of tomato plants, and patches of clover and wheat from the cover crops I sowed last fall. But mainly there were flowers — sunflowers and cosmos and tithonia, plus some native queen anne’s lace, goldenrod, and chicory for good measure. So I decided, finally, to let the weeds and the wildflowers and the volunteers stay. All summer I have been harvesting out of that section to make bouquets to sell at market and to add to the CSA share from time to time, little gifts from the land to us all.

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