When your harvest begins to squirm

My wife, Malathi, and I have been growing broccoli this summer, as well as several other vegetables, Worms_3and yesterday we had our first harvest, filling a bowl with some succulent green worms.

It was early evening and I returned from the garden with a floret of broccoli, a tomato, a green pepper and a hot pepper. It wasn’t much of a havest, but I proudly took it to the living room to show Malathi and the kids. Everyone was excited about the broccoli — the kids like broccoli and Malathi likes anything that’s green. Well, almost anything. Moments after tasting a little broccoli and raving about it, she screamed, "Worms! It’s got worms!"

She counted three worms at first, then recruited me to complete the census. Using a pencil and some vinegar, I counted 15 worms, six adults and nine children. All seemed to be doing well, economically speaking. My census survey revealed that they were all green, all employed, and all native-born, except for one shady character who wriggled in from the neighboring plant.

Oh, another thing: the worms said they love organic gardeners. "They treat us well," one worm said. "They don’t spray anything on us. Sometimes they even give us a ride to the grocery store."

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Those worms do a good job of hiding in the broccoli, great camouflage. I’m sure there’s a place in heaven for you for being such a generous host.

  2. Mosilager wrote:
    >>Those worms do a good job of hiding in the broccoli, great camouflage.
    Yeah, we had no clue they were hiding in there — until a couple of them ventured out. If they had stayed in there, we would have had a little more protein at dinner.

  3. We like the crawlies in our garden too. Especially as the worms will turn into butterflies. Lovely writing style. Up north from us in where you are in Zambia you must have beautiful butterflies. You have gorgeous fishes in the lake.

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