Plant murderer

By Caroline Klapper | Oct 01, 2012

I don’t like murdering my plants.

“Murder” might be an extreme word for removing old, spent vegetation from the garden to make way for the next season’s growth, but that’s kind of how I felt about it as I ripped out tomato plants and cucumber vines last week to get my flower bed ready for fall and winter plants.

Granted, those plants would have soon shriveled and died anyway with the cooler weather, which will soon give way to nightly frosts, but I still couldn’t help feeling guilty about removing plants that still had some life left in them.

They were still somewhat green, and the tomato plants even had fruit still growing on them. I gathered up what was left of my crop — one cucumber, a few big tomatoes and a bunch of little cherry tomatoes — and then did what I had to do.

With a tug and a grunt, I pulled out the old to make way for the new in the circle of life that is my vegetable garden.

I also spent a good hour weeding out this terrible plant that’s been trying to take over my garden all summer. Now that plant, I don’t feel bad about murdering, but of course, it’s impossible to kill anyway. It was there when I moved in, and it’s still there now, lurking and waiting to shoot up again from runners hidden beneath the surface. I have no idea what this plant is, but it seems indestructible.

After the plant carnage was removed, I set to putting in a few things that I hope will survive at least into early winter.

As you might know from previous blogs, I’m originally from the deep, deep South, southern Louisiana to be exact, where the climate is sub-tropical, and temperatures still hit the 90s at this time of year. Planting for fall and winter is a bit of a foreign concept to me.

I decided on purple and white pansies and mums to add some color, some ornamental cabbage and some cabbage and lettuce that will be for eating — if they actually grow and if I can find recipes I like involving cabbage.

We’ll see how it goes, and hopefully I won’t be guilty of any more plant murder until spring arrives.