By Carrie Kilman

Until this weekend, our garden was 800 square feet of mostly weeds. My partner Joe and I looked around with embarrassment the other day, realizing how far behind we were, compared to so many fellow gardeners. After weeks of travel, company and untimely surgery, Joe finally had time this weekend to clear the jungle that had grown there, making room for corn, okra, potatoes, and squash. I can imagine him settling back on his heels, dusting dirt from his hands, and admiring the newly barren brown.

We got our first plot at Troy Gardens two years ago. That summer, I hated this part. I wanted to jump past the weeding, the digging up of dirt, the turning of the soil. I wanted plants in the ground, orderly rows, soil spotless.
Then last summer, a good friend and fellow gardener said to me, "What we call weeds might be food to someone else, or a habitat for some living thing." After that, I began to think about weeds a little differently. Now I appreciate this stage, when the garden has reverted to a tiny patch of wilderness. In their thick and tangled way, weeds can be beautiful. Some people think mustard greens are weeds, but we eat them in salads. Spearmint, too. 

I'm recuperating from a recent surgery, so I couldn't help Joe this weekend. But I did take a few pictures of our weeds in their colorful, pre-cultivated splendor:



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