At least in Wisconsin, it feels like we are ‘falling’ into fall rather quickly. I think about all the rituals we have to wind down and prepare for winter as we transition to heartier foods, cozier clothes, toastier beverages. As part of this transition, the concept of pruning came to mind. Pruning is an essential and under-appreciated practice for healthy growth, and not just for our plants!
In the Garden
Even in the Midwest, I am determined to squeeze every last bit of fresh goodness out of my garden before the snow flies. (Check out my recent blog post about growing Fall greens for tips on how to do the same.) My goal this year is to extend the life of my Salad Garden by adding a frost cloth over my bed. Our newly-installed raised beds allow for more adaptability and control for whatever mother nature throws at us. I’ll keep you posted on our challenges and (hopeful) success.
This past year I focused on intentionally pruning throughout the year. I significantly upped my game. Any dead leaves were quickly swiped as if they had never appeared; No sign of distress or disease escaped my eye. This level of diligence was new to the Oglesby garden.
When it came to harvesting the greens, I would always take my harvest knife and start cutting, whacking, or whatever brutal method I deemed acceptable. Despite my naivete, the plants survived and managed to grow back. However, I’ve since learned that harvesting the bottom outside leaves first was the appropriate method for the Asteraceae family (also known as the greens on your salad).
Let’s use kale as an example. When looking at the plant, you’ll see that the growth comes from the center of the plant. This makes it simple and efficient to harvest/prune the outer leaves (starting at the bottom) to allow for continual healthy growth from the center. This is true for hundreds of lettuce varieties. I’ve used this method with my herbs and greens this summer and to heartier, more vibrant greens. All that unpruned growth had been holding them back.
Pruning back our overgrowth allows our root system to get stronger and stronger and encourages healthy abundance going forward. Be excited about the new growth that is coming as we prune back tasks, stresses, and foods that no longer align with our wellness goals.
For Our Health
To cope with the chillier days, I took a gander in my closet. I was annoyed and overwhelmed. Clothes provide real joy in my life. However, right now I crave fewer daily decisions and more energy to focus on growing my business. So I decided it was time to cut back. Not necessarily forever, we will see. The capsule wardrobe still intimidates me but I am ready to free myself from the daily outfit debate.
My friend Kelly is an outfit stylist wardrobe extraordinaire. Truly gifted and enjoys it. During a visit to Kelly’s home for some assistance with accessorizing a few outfits. As I watched her methodically grab jewelry for my outfits, I noticed the joy it brought her, and how her face lit up. While I felt nothing but overwhelming, she was in her element, without a trace of stress. She always jumped in and did exactly what I needed, which was to help me in an area I didn’t care to deal with. And she LOVED what she was doing.
Not to completely contradict the wisdom of minimalism and Marie Kondo (whom I do find inspiring) but be strategic in choosing what to prune this fall. We don’t have to gut our closets if there is no weight on our shoulders when we enter them. So, while I intend to lighten the wardrobe burden and prune my closet this fall, Kelly will revel in her killer wardrobe this winter. For her, there might be another area that could use some pruning shears.
So, let’s set our environments up to thrive this fall. Feel empowered to prune back what’s causing overwhelm for you as we enter into a new season. Eliminating even small stressors allows us more energy to devote to what matters, whatever that means for you.