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March 29th 2010    Tim Candler

    I have to wonder why there is no retirement age for a Supreme Court Justice.  I imagine it is for them to decide, rather than something that can be thrust upon them.  And I know how the pompous tend to think of ourselves as indispensible.   But there is something else. 

    In the vegetable garden the role of Supreme Court Justice is played by Radish.    Quick to grow, they are enthusiastic in cooler weather, and as they mature the tastier looking ones are slowly culled.   However there are usually one or two Radish that remain tucked away in a corner and when hot weather comes, these start to bolt.

    The initial instinct it to leave a politely blooming Radish in place, just to see what it might do.  By July it becomes straggling and messy like a badly packed suitcase.  But it is almost impossible to dig up, because there is bloom that bees enjoy, and there is that awful temptation to see how big and odd-looking and old it might get.

     Middle of August is a good time to release ground from its responsibility.  Freshen it for fall planting.   Yet, here is The Radish.  Venerable now, huge with a prehistoric gnarl to its root, seed pods, and still blooming.   It sits there like a wet cat, in a chaotic and entitled way daring me to remove it.  So I keep it trimmed until the frost kills it.

      This year I have chosen sneakiness.  I have placed my Radish row in the very center of a valuable bed.   No part of the row has a corner.  This way, should a Supreme Court Justice emerge he'll be easier to remove. 

      Then of course there is that tradition of a blooming Radish being good for the garden.  So I will pop some in the out-of-the-way and awkward places to discourage things that creep.

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