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Ill met by torchlight…

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Chris Mills

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I have just been out in the back garden, picking some late tomatoes by torchlight. Now, I admit that sounds rather eccentric, but I had forgotten to pick them earlier. My internal clock is still not synced in with the loss of evening light, hence the torchlight tomato picking. It would probably have been truly eccentric if I had tried to dig up our sweet potato plant (which may or may not have produced a crop) in the dark so I decided to leave that task to tackle in daylight. I should just mention that this is the first year in which we have attempted to grow sweet potatoes, so there is a distinct frisson of anticipation about the act of digging up the one and only plant. Will it or won’t it have produced any nice edibles?
All of that autumnal evening activity was a preliminary to sitting down at the computer to write a blog post. I’m not sure if tomato picking counts as procrastination or not. Possibly, it could even count as an inspirational activity since I was casting around to find a topic to turn into a few hundred or so words. This brings me to twilight tomato picking on a slightly damp evening in Dublin. I can only say that of all the gardening activities that one might undertake by torch beam, this is one of the most harmless…especially as a form of procrastination.
And what of other torchlight horticultural activities, I hear you ask? Well, as every gardener knows, one of the few reliable ways in which to be rid of slugs and snails is to hunt by them by the light of a silvery torch (I was aiming there to make snail hunting a touch more poetic, but I’m not sure it’s possible). I did actually do some hunting a few times earlier in the season when I was determined to keep slimy creatures from eating my spring planting. I can promise you this, you will find a certain satisfaction in picking snails off your plants, but in general I would much rather be picking late tomatoes.
The problem comes when the torchlight isn’t quite strong enough to be sure that you are picking a slightly squishy tomato and not an enterprising, high climbing slug.
Time to return to the computer I think…

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