Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sterilizing dirt

It's spring! I need to start planting seeds. In the solarium, my lilac bush is leafing out, my geraniums have new leaves and even my lobelia, which I thought was dead, is blooming. It's time!

I put the fruit fly infested dirt outside to freeze. But when reflecting on fruit flies and their unwillingness to die, I decided maybe freezing them wasn't enough. So, yesterday I carefully brought in the containers of dirt with snow on top. I thawed them and then I started scooping the dirt into a nice Easter colored casserole dish. I popped the dish into the microwave like I was preparing some elegant mud pie and zapped it for 5 minutes. It came out steaming and hot, but it didn't really smell all that great.

I was sure that would do it and no new bugs could have lived, but I wasn't ready for what I found when the mud pie cooled. I started scooping that mud pie into the big, fresh dirt container. Yes, the smell. It was bad, but I assumed that's just the smell of freshly cooked dirt, or worm poop, depending on your perspective. Wanna know what I found at the bottom? Nice, big, fat red wigglers cooked to perfection. They were kinda transparent around the edges and really, really soggy worms. Somehow they had snuck through and ended up in the dirt pile instead of the worm pile.

I instantly flashed to my childhood and mom reading the book How to Eat Fried Worms. If I would have had a child near by to gross out, I might have picked it up and held it to my lips, but luckily, I was alone. I turned my head and scraped them into the fresh dirt pile. But. . .sterilizing dirt from now on, I know, will take nose plugs!