In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Worm sanctuary

The garden is now a designated worm sanctuary. My deal with the robins is: you can eat all the worms you want, anywhere you please, except inside the vegetable garden. I haven't bothered to put this deal into writing since I doubt they would take the time to read it, much less sign it. But so far, at least, they seem to be leaving the garden worms alone. 

It could be my fluttering anti-robin cloth strips that are actually doing the trick, rather than our little inter-species social contract. I have added the fluttering cloth strips to my defence repertoire, which started with the fluttering deer reminder cloth strips that hang along the outside.  The go-away-you-robins strips of cloth hang on twine stretched across the inside of the garden. The twine has gotten a bit saggy since I first tied it up there. Normal-sized people can still walk under it, but it might garrot a really tall person. Greg very kindly says that from the house the whole thing looks like a Greek wedding. I say more a used car lot.  It's a very fluttery garden now.   

This is the first full year for the vegetable garden. Last summer we got in on the middle of the growing season.  I was rather devil-may-care about it back then, figuring that, since it was my first, I had plenty of latitude for error.  It's not like I had any standard to live up to. 

This year the stakes are higher. Greg has been saying that there's no need for us to buy any vegetables -- ever-- from the grocery store.  I think he believes  -- touchingly -- that I actually learned something from my experience last summer. This great confidence in my ability makes me feel a little fluttery.

But at least I have begun earlier.  I double dug the beds, meeting countless worms in the process and getting a fabulous early harvest of stones. Which were definitely not in those beds last summer. We have built better trellises for the peas and beans and cucumbers, and we took some of the windows we scavenged from Roseway Hall and made temporary cold frames. I've been using the windows over the seeds, so that the seed-eating birds can't get them. Another line of defence.   

So far I've planted peas, turnips, beets, mesclun, chard, spinach, parsnips, fennel, carrots, mustard, shallots, cilantro, zinnias, and a little bit of garlic, to see if you can grow it in the spring. Also sweet peas and that honeysuckle I got last December from the field next door and a Casa Blanca Lily that I got as a surprise today. 

It's early by the calendar and by the average last frost date, which is about three weeks from now, I think. So all this planting could turn out to be pure-dee foolishness. But it's practically spring and out in their sanctuary those really safe worms are doing the boogie-woogie all night long. When I hear that party going on I just can't resist.     

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