My opportunities to work in the garden have been intermittent due to work and weather. 'Kinda funny considering that I work with weather forecasters. Earthworms have been surfacing everywhere because of all the rain we get. We seem to get long rainy periods of 3-4 days to as much as a week. Depressing but it's good for the soil.
During last Tuesday and Saturday's garden outings, I weeded and shoveled. Plenty of earthworms show up in my soil, and they do a great job, so I'm trying to make their work a little easier by adding sand. Gardening is a much more enjoyable context to see earthworms than watching another kid dare to swallow one (which even as a kid I thought it was childish and cruel), or destroying one in biology class disections. What was I supposed to see? Why does it have to be alive when we pin it down?
It seems like the soil has a lot of clay. It clumps more now than it did earlier (see March 2 entry). It came up as large wedges that require me to break them up with the shovel or garden fork. So, that's one more reason for adding sand. And maybe some kind of loamy "stuff" to lighten it.
A dandelion clump I dug to take home for my guinea pigs held a lot of dirt. An earthworm fell to the ground as I was shaking off the dirt -- again -- at my car. I picked up the earthworm and walked back to my plot where I set it on loosened soil and covered it with a thin layer.
I found the earthworm remarkably cold. Maybe that's the temp of the soil right now. It chilled me. So glad am I to not be an earthworm. So glad am I that they like my dirt.
Saturday, March 31, 2007, was warm (high 50s) and sunny. I dug, weeded, turned soil and raked about 1/3 of my garden plot. Then I planted seeds for spinach, mustard (India), gourmet lettuce, red leaf and one or two other kinds of lettuce. Nearly every shovel of soil contained three or four visible earthworms. I suspect they weren't thrilled at being disturbed, after all they worked hard to get the soil in good shape and they deserve any rest they can get.
The soil was in great condition, that is, loose and still moist, but not so moist that it would stick to the shovel or clump. It was friable.
I want to start potatoes, too, but hadn't ordered any seed potatoes. On the way home from my garden, I stopped at a local co-op market, which was hosting an Oriental dance show, to see what tickets would cost. I mentioned my morning gardening. The clerk offered me certified organic (red) seed potatoes for nothing. So, thank you to her (and thanks to God).
So often when I'm out in the garden, I "feel" like it's where I'm supposed to be. I don't have any detailed explanation for this. I just enjoy it. Even my allergies aren't keeping me away.