The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 12, 2005


Garden plots

Just why anyone tends a garden plot is hard to know. This year in a dreary May, cold rain showers fell almost every day and the thermometer held in the 40s. Later, heat, sun, and water brought on crops of peppers, eggplant, and corn. At times this summer the heat and humidity have been almost unbearable while you're weeding and staking.

Jack-in-the-Beanstalk weeds sprout three, four, and five feet tall while your back is turned, or while away on vacation. Some are easily pulled out, others put up a fight. There are days after working in the garden that clothes are so covered in dust and dirt that you hesitate to go into the house.

So gardening takes a certain toughness, and it also takes time. Time to plant, water, weed, nurture, and to recover from all those efforts.

Maybe it's for tomatoes that taste of a month of sunshine. Wading through their branches, sulfur-colored chlorophyll rubs off on your arms and their acrid smell envelopes you in summer. Cherry tomatoes hidden deep in dark vines are like semi-precious jewels. Dust one off and savor the warm, acid juice. Even a day off the vine, the flavor is not quite as sharp, not quite as fine as the day it's picked.

It could be for corn picked just before supper, or sunflowers with enough energy in a striped seed to shoot up ten feet tall. Or days in spring when a bluebird slides through the open sky over the field and touches earth again on a garden stake.

Every spring at Foss Farm, farmer Duffy plows the field and every plot owner at the community garden gets a clean slate. Every summer vegetables, flowers, and weeds grow and another season gives toil, and also joy.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito