Turn Grandma into Compost

I know I'm rushing the season a bit, but what gardener can help it? The sun is rising earlier and staying with us longer, the seed catalogues are arriving, and it's time again to prepare our gardens, dreaming of homegrown tomatoes, championship zucchini, and an ambrosia of piquant peppers.

Ah, but every gardener looks for a little edge. What secret addition to the soil might juice up your summer veggies to new heights of excellence? No synthetic chemicals, mind you -- we're talking organics, nature's own support system. This is where Science & Spirit magazine proves so helpful. It's latest headline reads: "Green Burial Turns Mom Into Mulch."

Yes! Why didn't I think of it? "Earth to earth" sayeth the scripture, and what better earthly repose than to be a tomato-pusher, a life-giver even in death! Let's recycle ourselves, as Science & Spirit suggests, in the family garden plot or compost pile.

Traditional methods of human disposal are, let's admit it, inhumane, gross, and toxic. As noted in the Austin American Statesman, poisonous embalming fluids leach into the soil and water, metal caskets might contain lead, wooden caskets eat up forests, and ... well, burial is a mess.

So why not just wrap Grandpa Ed or old Aunt Em in organic cotton sheets and plant them out back, where they can do some good? Illegal, you say? Not so. My Austin paper reports that as long as you go at least 18 inches down, the private family plot in the back yard is perfectly OK. Personally, being from Texas with its wild critters and all, I'd dig a bit deeper, but as long as it poses no health hazard to the living, go for it.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... I realize that there'll be those who fear that his will lead to cases of gardencide. Perhaps some maniacal green thumbers will think they could win this year's blue ribbon if only they could plant their tomatoes atop the remains of irksome Uncle Elmer. But, hey, what's life without risk? Uncle Elmer has to die of something.


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Happy Holidays!