Every Mistake We Must Surely Be

Win some, lose some, make pesto of some.

After more than a week of rain every day the garden looks lush and every plant grew tremendously. Even so: some seeds did not sprout at all; some beets have finally germinated. As I was weeding, I discovered two entire carrots had in fact sprouted so I spent the afternoon attempting to get over a grudge against them. The peas have become giant busybodies that can’t keep their fronds off their neighbors and the parsley’s showboating inspired a very delicious and refreshing salad. I cannot tell a lie: I trimmed that leaf lettuce to its stem for the second time and hope it doesn’t come back. It sounds crass to say the spinach and I have a date for six weeks after the lettuce bites the dust.

Radish jungle at the dining room window, a favorite of resident lovely cats.

Today, I planted two window boxes with two varieties of carrots in soil liberally laced with compost and vermiculite. Vermiculite is supposed to prevent soil compaction, so I’m optimistic the carrots will do better in a dedicated container. It’s working for these wise guys, right? Ever seen such smug radishes?

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3 responses to “Every Mistake We Must Surely Be

  1. Check the source of your vermiculite and make sure there is no asbestos contamination. Don’t panic, but vermiculite is closely associated with asbestos contamination. You need to check the background on wherever that vermiculite came from.

  2. I surely shall. Will the bag say something declarative like CONTAMINATED BY ASBESTOS or will it be more coy?

  3. The skull and crossbones are a dead giveaway.

    Not really sure how you’d know, but the reason I have concern is that there was a bit of (brace yourself, because this is going to surprise you) corporate cover-up of the asbestos contamination in vermiculite used in the home insulation industry. Vermiculite from a contaminated mine was used in homes for decades up into the 1970s, when fiberglass took over the insulation business, and 70% of the homes insulated with vermiculite came from the contaminated mine.

    I found out about this when I was looking into changing my attic insulation. I had been told, during an energy audit, that my attic was insulated with vermiculite. I was also told not to worry because there wasn’t any asbestos in it. Then I spoke to insulation contractors at a home show (we’re going to re-insulate with a “green” variety of closed cell spray foam combined with blown-in cellulose). They all said that there’s no asbestos in vermiculite in homes built after the 1930s. Then I researched it on my own. They were all wrong, as I said. However, fortunately, they were ALL wrong. I checked further and I don’t have vermiculite in my attic. I have rock wool, a safe, fire resistant, man-made mineral material. Now i have an unnecessary amount of knowledge about vermiculite, which I spread around for the benefit of others. Because I’m like that and there isn’t a damned thing I can do about it.

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