Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A gardener's tale...

I've been harvesting the seed from my arugula and purple kale plants.  I have to, especially after the last time.  I didn't know.  I just.  Didn't. Know.

I was looking forward to huge bowls of salad when I first planted them.  All those purple and green leaves.  Gourmands called them 'spicy,' but most folks I knew just said they were bitter.  My plans worked well - bowls and bowls of salads came out of my patch.  Arugula, kale, romaine.  Sweet lettuces too, to balance the bitterness: oak leaf, grand rapids, black seeded simpson.  I had them all. 

When the arugula bloomed, I daydreamed about even more salads.  Same with the kale.  The plants were prolific, putting out thousands of seed and dispersing them before I even realized they were ready.  Again, I didn't think much about it.  I just thought I'd find plants in strange places for the next few months. 

Then the people started disappearing all across northern Sumner County.  One or two at first then more.  It soon spread to southern Kentucky and beyond.  No one knew what to think about it.  The people were just...gone.   

Someone soon noticed there was arugula growing in every place a person had disappeared.  A few plants by a front door.  Several hidden beneath the weeds by a hiking trail.  Later, people noticed purple kale growing in some of those places as well. 

They had gotten smart.  They had gotten hungry.

The authorities got curious and dug up some of the plants.  It was horrible.  Bits of synthetic fibers, rubber soles from shoes and tiny bone fragments were found tangled within the roots.  No one knows to this day how they managed to dig the them up without becoming a part of the debris.  Especially now that we know how the plants fed themselves. 

You see, somehow what they were getting out of the ground wasn't enough anymore.  They needed more.  Somehow, both the arugula and kale developed facile roots.  They were certainly strong  enough to grab any passing animal, including humans, and drag them beneath the loose soil and feed on at their leisure.  It was no surprise when several horrified people in a local park caught them on film, on the move to their next feeding grounds.   

After that, the extermination program began.  The plants were attacked with extreme menace whenever they were found.  New plantings of arugula and kale were banned.  It was a hard fight and we almost lost.  Like I said, the arugula is very prolific.  The kale isn't far behind. 

So I've found some of the plants trying to hide in my garden.  I trapped them before they could feed on anything.  In my mind, turnabout is fair play and I'll eat as many of them as I can find...and keep them from spreading more seed throughout the county.

That's why I have to stay on top of harvest.       

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