On November 20, a small group of us arrived to a garden mostly empty of plants. We had not come to tend to the remaining collards and kales that struggled to survive in the cold, but to tools that were rusty, stiff, dinged, and dull.
We brought our tools out from the shed. A couple of us scoured rust and dirt from clippers and loppers with steel wool. We sharpened the cutting edges of the tools with a sharpening stone and honing oil. Others filed nicks from the blades of shovels and hoes. We sharpened machetes and knives. Finally, we coated blades and hinges with WD-40 and stored tools away for the winter.
While we worked on tools, Susan cleaned up in the front. She raked ginkgo leaves into a pile, only to encounter a father and child jumping into the pile when she returned with a wheelbarrow. She reraked the leaves and brought them into the garden, depositing them next to a pile of older leaves in an impromptu Goldsworthy sculpture.
Before leaving for the day, I collected the seeds that we had saved over the season, paying special attention to the heirloom tomato seeds. A couple of months ago, Evelyn finished cleaning and drying tomato seeds, storing them in small plastic containers that takeout restaurants use to store sauces.
The image illustrates one of the problems of this season—our difficulties in identifying tomatoes late in the season. We labeled our tomato starts when we transplanted them to the raised bed in spring; however, the growing plants obscured the labels, and rainwater eventually washed away the writing. When it was time to identify tomato varieties for seed, we wound up guessing. Next year, we plan to map where we plant our tomatoes so that we do not have to rely on written labels.