Saying Goodbye

Hurts me more than you, little lettuce.

Hurts me more than you, little lettuce.

I thought the point of gardening was to grow great, healthy food, to pay a few cents less for it than you would at a farmer’s market or grocery store, to excuse yourself from supporting that latter institution and its associated environmental horrors. And sure, the food is great. I did (in the end!) harvest my first cucumbers yesterday, and they were the sweetest, crunchiest cucumbers I’d ever tasted. But I didn’t count on the growing emotional attachment to my plants. I kind of love them. I talk to them while weeding and watering; I monitor their growth; I try to give them every nutrient they might need.

So it’s hard to kill them.

My spring bed contains a row of English peas, swiss chard, and a whole lot of lettuces. All of it has to come up this weekend to make room for tomato and eggplant starts, which I’ve raised from seed. It’s time: the lettuces will soon bolt and turn bitter in this southern heat, and the peas have really slowed down. But they are still producing a few new pods! And the lettuces are so perfectly pretty! Ripping them out of the ground will feel like an awful betrayal. I’ll eat them anyway.

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