Sometimes our clean dirt is not so clean. I mix purchased potting/garden soil and purchased peat to make new, clean potting soil that is ready to use. In other words, it all came out of a bag. No worms. My container of choice is a recycle bin the City no longer wants us to use. Of course, it has no lid but I never gave that a thought because it was in my greenhouse.

My failure to think about a lid resulted in an incident in the greenhouse. I was attempting a quickie potting of a Torenia plant I found growing behind the greenhouse. My garden gloves were in the house but I had a small, metal trowel for spooning some of that clean dirt into a ceramic planter. It was going too slow. I tossed the trowel aside and reached in for handfuls at a time. This was great for a few handfuls. Then, as I reached deeper to pull up a new handful, I felt something round and more solid than potting soil. I screamed when a blue striped skink flew out of my hands. I screamed some more when it started clawing the slick side of the bin. More unintelligible sounds filled the air as I wrestled with the heavy blue bin trying to tip it so the skink could get out. Finally, the skink was on the floor of the greenhouse looking at me. That’s when I heard “Aack!”, “Aack!”  I’m really not sure which one of us was making that noise. Me, or the skink, as he realized my bare hands had been on him.

Photo by James DeMer/Pixabay

Needless to say, I wasted no time in ordering myself a big, honking trowel. No way was I ever again reaching into a pile of dirt, even clean dirt, with my bare hands.  Despite my best efforts with a ruler, this photo simply does not convey the sheer size of this thing. My entire hand will fit inside the silver trowel.


Fiskars Big Grip trowel
Big, honking trowel