“Tell me about soul amendments,” she said, she meaning the friend who is sharing a community garden plot with me, said meaning texted.
She tends the garden on odd days of the month; I take the evens. On Saturdays, the young fellow I call the garden overseer spends a couple of hours there to give advice, to answer our questions, to do his own tending of the long beds he has planted with sunflowers and zinnias and cosmos.
It was an even-numbered Saturday, so it was my day to garden. The overseer and I had spent some time distributing soil amendments onto our bed and gently working them into the dirt with our fingertips as if massaging shampoo onto a child’s scalp. First he sprinkled greensand (which was neither green nor sandy — more brown and dirt-gritty), which would slowly release potassium and iron into the soil. Then I sprinkled the crushed white rock phosphate, which would add phosphorus and some calcium.
It would have been better, he told me, to have worked these into the soil a few weeks before, the day we prepared the bed for planting, when we’d poured compost onto the dirt of our 8-by-4-foot raised bed and worked it in with a rake. But it would still help.
Part of my volunteer work that day, after I’d amended our soil and pulled the grass sprouts and watered the bed well, was to pull the incipient weeds from the beds that had not been planted yet. I don’t know why, but it’s enormously satisfying work, to grasp a weed at the point it emerges from the ground and wiggle it and feel the whole thing loosen its grip on the earth, to gently pullllll and see its roots surrender to the air.
In the evenings, we text each other a report from the garden, like coparents who share custody of a child. “Soul amendments” was a typo, but a rich one. Apt. Felicitous. Fruitful.
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