This time of the year my hands are always stained with blood… green blood.
In the winter the killing frost is my enemy. Now it’s the bugs, thousands of them.
Hungry, uninvited guests, they riddle the cucumbers and innocent squash full of holes.
The army worms are the worst. Like an army they descend, eating and pillaging. They make lacy holes in the tomato leaves at first, and then they attack the green fruit. One good bite and the whole fruit is spoiled. It will rot before it ripens.
Every day in the garden I kill. I kill more than I plant or harvest. I have no bloodless view of my vegetables, with my hands all stained with chlorophyllic gore.
When we kill for meat, it is with gratitude and sadness. Now i am ruthless, grim. I kill with no mercy.
I kill with my own hands, rather than toxic chemicals. I would rather always kill for myself, because there are those who kill beside me, whose way of life is a way of killing, who would be harmed by pesticides. In the garden, an enemy of my enemy is my friend!
I am careful to respect the predators and the pollinators, but the eaters – I kill them as much as i can.
Once a year we kill one cow for our beef, but every day i kill dozens of insects for our tomatoes.
The insects don’t have a sleek coat or pretty dark eyes. They don’t speak a language i can understand, or resemble a being like myself, but i could never pretend that they don’t love their lives any less than i do.
As a gardener I could never believe that vegetables take no lives.
As much as i kill now, at the end of the season i will still have lost the battle.