Dead Plant Funeral

by

Last night, in less than three hours, we disassembled a garden that took seven months to build.

Actually, the dismemberment of our garden began on Wednesday, when I took off work early to harvest as much food as I could carry off. I took a large canvas bag full of tomatillos, chilies and tomatoes for salsa, several large cukes, and an armful of Thai basil.

Then the ground froze briefly that night. This is what my backyard basil looked like Thursday morning.

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Our garden class, which has been working a plot off of Hill Road all summer long, met up last night for a brief vigil. We had rows of rigor mortis tomatoes, ice blackened basil and sad, sad eggplant plants. The cucumbers vines were shriveled and brown, clinging to our ranch paneling, even in death.

But there was not time to mourn. As Josie Erskine, Peaceful Belly farmer and our gardening guru for the season said, roughly: It's just a bunch of water and light.

We went to work, tearing tomatoes from their trellising, pulling and stacking the posts, rolling and stacking irrigation lines. I needed a moment to myself, so I went to work on the cucumbers, ripping the sharp vines from the panels we grew them up. The cucumber vines tore at the flesh of my palms, a final penance for the cold, fat winter to come.

There is still work to be done. There are still hundreds of beets that I need to figure out how to digest. But my virgin year of gardening is nearing its close. And I can smell the snow on Bogus. Here's to light and water and earth.