Gathan Beaga

X marks the spot

Yesterday I dug over the vege garden again – partly to condition the soil a bit and get rid of some weeds, but also because it was a lovely day and it came to me (while I was in the shower) that I should probably get outside and do something physical. This urge strikes me but once or twice a year, and should really be obeyed.

Rosa “helped” me, mainly so that she could be the first to find any lost potatoes. Digging for potatoes is like digging for buried treasure: the girls love it. They’re out there anytime I dip my shovel into the dirt these days, just in case.

A third of the garden hadn’t been dug over for more than a year, and was very compacted. With a bit of rain recently it was easier to dig over than it was back in summer. Unfortunately there were no lost potatoes. But Rosa and I carefully collected the bindweed (convolvulus, a.k.a. “nasty white roots”) roots as we went, splitting the shovelled clods by hand and eventually filling up an entire plastic shopping bag off about 6m2 of dirt. That should stop the stuff from overrunning the area too early in spring.

The rest was gratifyingly easy to turn over and some parts, especially the place where had I emptied our failed worm farm, were rich and loamy and crying out for something to be planted. I should investigate this.

Rosa wants me to plant strawberries in the spring, which I think is a pretty good idea. She also wanted me to collect earthworms for her, the bigger the better. She’d take each gently in her hands, talking to it as she would a baby and putting it into its new “home”, an old watering can full of dirt. Where I’m not sure how long they’ll survive. I provoked a minor tantrum by putting some water in with the worms but hopefully this will be moisture enough until I can surreptitiously empty the lot out again when Rosa’s attention has waned.

That burst of activity will do me until early springtime, I guess. If only the rest of the garden was as slothful as I.