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Gardening at Night

Warning: This blog entry is a pure, unadulterated display of Gardenerdiness.

Tonight I satisfied a desire I’ve had for years – to garden in the dark, after the sun has completely set.  It’s a desire I’ve never been able to indulge in because my gardening space, the community garden, closes at sunset.  Now that I am a homeowner, the world is my oyster, so to speak, as far as living out my nighttime gardening fantasies.  Now, I’m not talking about gardening outside where it’s well-lit.  I’m talking about piercing the night’s dark shroud with good old fashioned geek gear – a head lamp.  Here’s how it went:

Earlier this week we raided REI during their yearly camping equipment sale and purchased an inexpensive camping head lamp, similar to this one:







It has 4 settings – bright, brighter, brightest, and blinking.  You will need the brightest setting for this task.  Blinking is really only if you want to drive yourself nuts.

The head lamp came with 3 AAA batteries (thank the gods, or else none of this would have ever happened), which we promptly installed after wrestling with the packaging for a good 3 minutes.  Finally, with batteries loaded, I adjusted the strap to fit securely, but not painfully, around my head, and my loving husband attached the light to the strap.  And off I went… grinning from ear to ear.

Out into the front yard (for the most geek-fest exposure possible) with gloves and knee pads in place, a hand trowel stuffed into my back pocket and a weeding tool in my hand, I was to meet the mess of weeds – now grown up to two feet tall and going to seed.

At first it was a little odd, having a light strapped to my head, but after a few minutes, I settled into a routine of grabbing and pulling massive quantities of weeds with both hands.  It felt perfectly normal to be gardening at night, and it made me smile.  There are a few exceptions, however, that draw one’s attention to the fact that this is all but ordinary.  Primarily, I could see the dust floating past the beam of light in front of my face.  It wasn’t distracting, but actually brought more awareness to the process – evidence of being “out in nature” was literally before my eyes.

Then the moths came.  They were confused.  They wanted to fly toward the light, but it was moving and it had a human attached to it.  They didn’t know what to do.  As it got darker, other creatures started to come out of the woodwork.  Spiders, crickets, pill bugs, pinchers, and even beetles were getting in on the action.  And I do mean ACTION.  I fell upon two beetles in a pornographic moment.  They actually stopped getting it on when my light shown upon them a little too long for comfort.  It was awkward, so I moved on.

After pulling weeds to my heart’s content, I dead-headed some roses.  All of this was delightful, and yes, even a little daring.  Every once in awhile, I would wonder if something was going to jump out and scare the crap out of me.  Some giant spider, or lizard or worse – a roach or a rat.  None of this happened, but I was finished pushing my luck for one night.

Have you ever gardened at night?  Go ahead – admit it here.

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