Earlier today I tore much of my garden down. I pulled up all my tomato plants, the cages and the stakes. I rolled up most of that black underlayment and raked a layer of grass clippings over the area. When I get everything down in the next couple weeks after a killing frost, I'll till it all and cover it all with tons of maple leaves. It's a job that I don't take a great deal of pleasure in.
Opening up a garden in the spring is a much more hopeful task. It marks a beginning. Planting the young tomato plants, placing the cages around them and so on signifies the new season of growing with the promise of the harvest down the road.
Autumn in Indiana is a truly lovely time of the year. We usually enjoy what I consider our best stretch of weather from the last couple of weeks in September sometimes through the first week or two of November. Daily temperatures begin to drop off from the more intense levels of August. The humidity drops. We get but little rain. While it doesn't always work out that way, more often than not, it does.
The gradual cooling urges the leaves to begin turning from their deep late summer green, first to yellow/gold, then to red, usually peaking in color and contrast by mid-October. As lovely as it is, it is also a time tinged in sadness. Another summer season is gone.
I'm not a fan of winter. I can appreciate it, say, up until about New Years Day. By then we've had at least a taste of winter weather - some bracing cold, some snow. But January, February and much of March are often pretty bleak times in Indiana. With a few exceptions, the weather is not pretty. We don't get the heavy snow and deep cold that more northern or mountainous regions usually get. This ain't ski country.
Nor do we get away with wearing just a sweater and light jacket in January as they may in more southern climates. Our winters generally fall somewhere in between - just cold enough and wet enough to be miserable most of the time. Bad weather often lingers off and on through most of April, sometimes even well into May. There are usually a number of glorious spring days starting sometimes as early as late March, but winter just won't let the other shoe drop until deep into spring.
Then, we often do an about face into hot, humid summer weather in early June. We often swelter through much of the summer. Again, it isn't tropical or desert like. But just hot enough and humid enough to be uncomfortable, to sweat, to find it hard to remain outside come mid-afternoon.
So the fall is prime time for Indiana weather. Unfortunately, winter is on its heels. Come February, I'll likely start some plants under lights in my basement. That's always fun.