No matter how empty the garden in late fall might appear, there’s actually much to see. A row of hardy beets continues to grow in our raised bed. The variable temperatures characteristic of the season allow tougher root vegetables like these to endure beyond the time when most of the other plants have gone to rest.

Shrubs now dormant continue to shed their flaky offerings upon the late November ground. Red, green, yellow, and gold leaves cling to bushes and pear trees. More of them form a thin, colorful blanket on the turf. Soon I’ll rake them into the compost bin where a quiet transformation over the colder months will yield nutrients for next summer’s cucumbers and tomatoes.

Inside the house, other gifts from the fall garden sit on a kitchen platter prior to their immersion in the simmering broth of a pot roast. This slow-cook recipe, taught to us by our friend, Tom, calls for carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, garlic, and parsnips. The first three have been harvested from our own beds and sacks.

At a nearby market, I’ve met some of the farmers whose crops end up on our table. The roast in its bubbling juices blends good things from varied sources: vegetables from our yard and regional farms along with know-how from our friends. Nearby yields infuse an autumn meal with distinctive aromas and flavors.

As we anticipate the approach of winter’s more barren landscape, we can savor and give thanks for the tasty, durable abundance afforded by our place.

Richard Kordesh

Oak Park

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