Thank goodness for earthworms!Tuesday May 27 2014
Working in the field today got me to thinking about all those little critters in the soil and all the hard work they do. This excerpt from Ruth Stout's 1955 book seemed awfully appropriate:
"There is no competition, no criticism in a garden, and yet where, in so small and crowded a space, could you find so many different, things, looking, seeming, behaving so differently?
The carrots and parsnips modestly hide the most important part of themselves under the ground. The cabbage becomes a big green ball, the tomato plants make smaller balls which turn red. The corn, it would seem, might frighten the gentle parley by shooting away up in the air. But the parsely is not afraid.
The corn is not arrogant about its superior height: it doesn’t shout: “Do as I do, you little runts. Be somebody!” Peppers do not ridicule the carrots for hiding in the ground, calling them cowards. The parsnips don’t accuse the gay red-and-green peppers and tomatoes of showing off.
The asparagus doesn’t form an organization to fight un-asparagus vegetables. It has been in the garden many, many years longer than any of the other things, but it doesn’t tell a single one of them to go back where it came from. Live and let live is the motto. Each one does the best it can, unobtrusively, uncritically, and so there is peace in the garden. Peace and results.
If you are alone and work quietly you will find that you feel a part of these living, growing things. You lift a bit of mulch and there are the repulsive little earthworms, diligently doing their great work of keeping the soil in good condition, so that everything will grow. If you compare yourself to them, you need not feel ashamed, but you may feel humble.
You touch the warm, moist earth and it feels so good – so good. You want to be -- you hope you are -- one half as useful as an earthworm."
(from How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back: A delightful and instructive look at the addictive art of gardening)
Speaking of soil organisms and microorganisms... here's a great way to innoculate your soil...
How to brew your own compost tea:
Step 1 – Fill a bucket with water (non-chlorinated)
Step 2 – Fill a cotton bag, old pillow case, etc. with worm castings or compost and tie a knot
Step 3 – Plop the bag into the bucket of water and swish it around a little
Step 4 – Drop an aquarium pump/filter/bubbler into the water (with perforated tubing) and leave it to bubble for 2-3 days
Step 5 – Add a cup of Certified Organic unsulphured molasses
Step 6 – Fill a watering can or container with the brew and feed your seedlings/transplants – they'll thank you!
May your earth be filled with wonderful critters!
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