Dirt under fingernails

I spent quite a bit of time scrambling round with my hands in soil today. First up at the allotment, then in the front garden until it got too dark to do anymore.

My original intention had been to dig right across the back of the plot and have a row of Jerusalem artichokes framing my half. Now, I don’t think that is to be, though I made a fair attempt to execute my plan.


There may only be a few feet between where I stopped digging and the plot next door. However, the ground is just too full of perennial weeds for me to clear it before the artichoke tubers become too shrivelled. They might still be viable next weekend but my heart is not in digging just to see. Instead I am going to replant (next year) the blackberry bush from home in the remaining ground at the back of plot 15a.

Anyway, this is a shot of the last of the artichokes going in. The ground will definitely need redigging and clearing out as, even as I was putting the soil back in the holes, I spied some unwelcome guests! Still, the flowers I hope to see rising above should compensate for that 🙂


Back home, I felt in the mood to continue getting my hands dirty. This time, it was a much easier, though still time-consuming, job: collecting the pebbles from the patch of soil under my front window. Altogether I’ve already got quite a mountain of those now piled behind the dustbins. Perhaps I will use them to make a rockery?

© Helen Butt, March 2014

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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5 Responses to Dirt under fingernails

  1. lovely post and thank you for sharing Helen

  2. My Tropical Home says:

    Hi Helen,
    I found your blog through the comment you left on my comment over at The Wandering Poet. I love that you’re journalling your gardening adventure. I’ve always thought and also been told that my hands are too “hot” because the plants I’ve attempted to grow seem to die on me pretty quickly. The only ones that survive are those that can live without human intervention 🙂
    I admire what you’re doing and I am encouraged to continue my attempts to grow a potted vegetable garden at home. So far, we’ve enjoyed the celery I planted. It’s only one plant but it gave me hope to care for some more.
    Looking forward to reading more of your journey.

    • Thank you, Mary!

      I used to think that I couldn’t grow anything….. I was growing stuff indoors, with little light or not potting on when the plants got bigger etc. I therefore think that you just need to find the key to what works for you. Certainly, if you can grow celery you are doing something right – I am not sure that is the easiest thing to grow.


      • My Tropical Home says:

        Thanks so much for the encouragement, Helen!

        I was surprised when the celery survived! I hadn’t studied the kind of environment my potted plants were in. I’m doing now what your gardener advisor told you to do – wait a year before doing anything. I’m studying the way the sun hits the garden and other factors what will affect the plants I want to grow and how hot and cool it gets etc. I’m excited for next year because now I know what can grow in my potted garden and when.


        • Yes, this does make sense – hard to wait a year but you could have plants in pots which you could move around. In fact, that might give you a better idea of what works where 🙂

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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