Putting the Garden to Bed It’s called “putting to bed” because the garden doesn’t die; it sleeps. And we gardeners rest our bodies while dreaming about and planning the garden for spring. Harvesting the last radishes. Plenty of beautiful radishes for gardeners and shoppers at the Montpelier food pantry. A small haul, shared among gardeners. Covering the just-planted garlic with a winter blanket. Spreading leaves on the beds protects the soils from being tamped down in winter snows. When the leaves break down, they’ll add nutrients to the soil. The last day of the season for Compostville to accept food scraps. The compost team has extended the season longer than we used to be able to go. We still have a ways to go to keep the system cooking year-round, allowing us to accept food scraps all winter. For now, the dark, cold months will take feedstocks to a barely detectable simmer; it will break down very slowly. Meanwhile, the team will continue researching, learning, and improving the system to move Compostville toward robust processing all year. We had no compost deliveries this season! Instead, we enriched the planting beds with compost that our garden waste turned into—not waste at all! In this image, gardeners turn the garden waste windrow. They made piles of the most composted parts (on the right—beautiful soil) and covered it all with a tarp. Through the winter, that tarp retains the form and preserves the nutrition of this garden-produced compost. We’ll use it for spring planting. On the left is the newer garden waste: this season’s brussels sprouts stalks, weeds, husks, rotting crops, and whatever other organic matter we dragged out of the garden. The piles on the right started out looking like that! And so the cycle goes, so the earth goes.