Pruning shears

Harvesting

       Garden guides tell me to take a knife or scissors to the garden when I harvest, to gently cut and shear to protect vegetable and plant.  But I so often forget such civilized instruments.
       I rip and tear, I handle my food in the garden.  My bladeless harvesting guide is simple.  I dig potatoes and peanuts, clawing them from the earth with my fingers.  I yank okra down, pulling and twisting it free of its rough stalk.  I pinch basil between thumb and finger, then snap it up—same with fennel, cilantro, and dill.  I lift and snap peppers and green beans.  I shred lettuce, spinach, and chard.  I pull onions, radishes, and beets, ripping off their tops for salad garnish.  I snap broccoli, and roll Brussels sprouts.  I twist cabbages and cauliflowers until they’re free.  I lift and tug tomatoes.  I shake fennel and coriander seeds onto a sweepable surface.  I twist corn, then liberate it with a downward snap.  I steal strawberries from the birds and pilfer melons because that rich tradition actually improves their flavor.
       Once inside, I find the blades.  Then, I’m more civilized.  I peel, chop, slice, cut, dice, core, julienne, crush, grate, sheer, cube, stripe, scallop, shred, and grind with the best of them.
       At the table, finally, I am delicate.  I gently raise knife, or spoon, or fork, to food, and then to mouth, enjoying the sublime tastes so savagely brought to my well-set, linen-covered dining table.
       After dinner, to aid digestion, I return to the garden.  I weed.  This final harvest—of all that hinders and debilitates, all that steals nutrients and water and sunlight from what I want to grow—is the most important harvest in the garden.  I yank, pull, dig, hoe, chop, clip, pinch, and till.  I destroy with great satisfaction, then rest until next morning’s vegetable harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

Compost heap

Asparagus stalk

Cross hatch garden

Datura blossom

Thistle flower

Garden shears

Dandelion seed head

Cracked earth

Corn

Artichoke

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