A Little Story Involving Some Blasphemies in the Garden

Pulling weeds from the raised beds, I was feeling smug and virtuous for choosing to foodscape. We’ll eat lower on the food chain: more veggies, less meat. And the second week of June is never too early to put in your vegetables, right? I was further congratulating myself on allowing the tiny wild pea vines I was ripping out in handfuls to have served as a cover crop all these months. It had proliferated all through the spring: sweet little legume, enriching the soil with its nitrogen-fixing roots.

When I stood to look at the space I’d cleared, I saw about a billion displaced aphids squirming on the soil. Tiny green sugarbodies, suddenly exposed to the sun. They scuttled for the lifeboats, anything moist—grass blades, fir cones, pulled-up pea roots. I picked these up between gloved finger and thumb and dropped them into my wheelbarrow.

Disgusted, sorrowful, I returned two hours later. Toughen up, I told myself: the food chain never was for the faint of stomach. I spaded in compost and manure and the aphids’ billion sun-shriveled bodies. Mixed it all well. Planted my veg.

O goddess of solstice, O patron saint of sciatica, O receiver of insect souls: please bless my goddamn tomatoes.

 

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