Zsolt, Vegetables, Compost, Pruning and a Daisy Grubber

Currently, vegetables are in short supply in Europe.

Currently, vegetables are in short supply in Europe. In the winter, the continent sources the least appreciated food group from the south of Spain. The area was struck by unduly cold weather recently. To meet the demand for lettuce, the English grocery chain, Sainsbury, has been flying it in from the US.

It is a pity, I thought, after reading the report in the Wall Street Journal, the Dunn isn’t poised to take advantage of Europe’s misfortune. We could meet our budget handily if the vegetables Zsolt, our Trust Grounds Manager, grows in the summer were available for sale. They bulge over the raised beds of the vegetable garden in full color, green if they are supposed to be green, red if they are meant to be—you get the picture. They are blue ribbon county fair caliber. And they promise to be again this year as Zsolt filled up the vegetable beds with compost last month.

Actually, he amended the whole garden with compost last month. The rich brown stuff that makes the garden magic happen in the spring and beyond is everywhere. Before Zsolt laid the compost he leveled the dips  in the Great Lawn that were created by the upgrade of the irrigation system with sand. If you ask, he can tell you how he figured out how much material was needed and when the grass will grow through the application. (Having a masters degree in science and agriculture, plus an AA in restoration horticulture helps considerably.)

Having finished many of the urgent seasonal maintenance tasks Zsolt is getting organized for a class on best pruning practices. (March 16.)  He offered this class, another on irrigation, and over all best garden practice last year, and they filled up so fast we had to offer more. If you want to learn how to prune, or simply have a refresher on the art, better get on line and book your spot.

Zsolt’s seeming ability to turn his hand at anything garden related, grow any plant, fix/create any needed equipment, plan out care across the year, teach anyone about how a garden works, hit a small snag this week though. It was all because of an antique tool discovery.

Zsolt thought the object that was unearthed from its longtime resting place in the Dunn, was an old fashioned weeder. True, it looks like one. It has a handle, consisting of a stick and a wooden ball fulcrum, topped with a forked steel head.  He held it up in the office and confirmed it, without hesitation, as a tool for weeding.  It was hard to argue with that assumption but, it turns out, he was wrong.

A Google search revealed it as a daisy grubber. If you concede that a grubber does the same work as a weeder, Zsolt is technically correct. But grubber sounds so much more professional.  I did wonder if we should forward it to our vegetable starved friends across the pond. The leaves of the daisy can be added to salads, and are high in vitamin C. We could explain that in the absence of lettuce they could grub some daisies. We could also send Zsolt. He’d know how to grub up daisies without breaking a sweat. Except that, as you can see, we regard him as indispensible.