Fall rains have hit the pea patch hard. The cucumber plants are covered in rusty spots. The cannellini bushes are disintegrating. Basil is showing signs of advanced age and even the chard looks worn. Still, it’s hard to take drastic measures with dozens of green tomatoes on the vine.

I know the situation isn’t going to improve, either. Tomatoes and tomatillos are cracking as they ripen. Slugs are out munching decayed leaves in broad daylight. And the cold weather crops — kale, raddichio, broccoli — could really use some elbow room before winter shuts down their growth. It’s serious anarchy in the garden right now, and there’s only one thing to do about it.

But the cannellinis are this close.

Yesterday, trying to postpone the inevitable, I clipped armloads of ratty foliage from the plants. I snapped off small green fruits that will never ripen. And then as I was yanking basil, the skies opened up. I called it good and dashed for cover, leaving hard choices for another day.

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