Wednesday, November 3, 2010

True Grit

Certain things take courage.  Not as much courage as living in a fallen cave for 2 months, or being a firefighter.  A different kind of courage.  The kind I'm talking about is pulling up plants that are still alive, with tomatoes on them, but really have gone beyond their time in the garden.  In California we have 4 full growing seasons and although I still have some tomato plants left in the ground with their fruit on them, I know over the next weekend, despite the unusual heat, they will need to come out.  It would be easier if I knew what I was going to plant in their places, but the sun is low in the sky so whatever I put in will be a root vegetable of some sort.  And right now, I have no idea what I may plant.  And this is the great challenge of pulling out plants that are green and healthy, but past their prime.  It's like cutting short potential.  I think most gardeners face this gritty problem.  Our inclination is to nurture plants along.  We water and fertilize, compost and pick off snails, and do all the things a gardener does to encourage growth.  The fruition for this results in an abundant harvest.  Or at least that is the faith we start with when we plant.  But as much as it pains me, I will have to pull out the remaining tomato plants, eat the red ones and keep the green ones on the counter to ripen on their own, and know that the process of  gardening does require a season for everything.  I will have to be comfortable in that and then remember that gardens are a fully renewable resource.