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Spanish Secrets: Galician Goblins

Craig Briggs sees his small kitchen garden as a colourful, wonderful work of art. But strange things are happening at the garden's edge. Could goblins be involved?

Our small kitchen garden is beginning to repay our hours of toil. The work of morning watering is compensated by a pre-breakfast nibble of succulently-sweet and perfectly formed tiny green peas. The lightest pressure on the pointed pod breaks the natural seal of freshness, revealing an orderly row of juicy young pearls.

Early potatoes have a light skin which peels away with the gentlest of rubs. The loose sandy soil has produced a smooth and unblemished, creamy-white surface. Delicately-thin French beans hang from their stalks like deep-green icicles.

A collage of lettuce varieties provide a colourful carpet of varying shades of green, patches of cherry-red and royal purple. Several have bolted looking like miniature summer Christmas trees rising from a leafy sea. Slender spring onions and baby carrots crammed with strong delicious flavour bring colour and taste to lunchtime salads.

By far the most visually dramatic vegetable is the cauliflower. Pale veins spread like forked lightening across broad dark-green leaves. Like cupped hands these waxy leaves cradle the creamy-white heart. With each passing day the heart enlarges. Perfectly formed florets grow together in tightly packed clumps.

I am however, beginning to suspect that all is not what it seems in the garden and more sinister forces may be at work.

For the last few weeks Iíve noticed small holes, no bigger than milk bottle tops, appearing at the edges of the garden. Leading away from the holes is a line of disturbed earth which vanishes from view at our boundary edge or re-surfaces as another small opening. Itís as if a network of underground tunnels is being created.

Initially I suspected a mischievous and destructive family of moles, but my suspicions now lay elsewhere.

Coinciding with these mysterious subterranean excavations was the hitherto unobserved arrival of our first cucumber.

Our vegetable-growing bible suggested that one cucumber plant would feed a family of four throughout the summer. Using this information we planted four seeds. Our thinking was that two would die and the remaining two would supply our needs and leave sufficient left over to do some vegetable swapping with the neighbours.

What we hadnít taken into account was that all four plants would not only survive but flourish. Iím now convinced the garden burrows are a network of underground subways for Galician Cucumber Goblins.

This currently unseen nocturnal creature slips from its dark lair in the dead of night. Its goal is the collection of the bright-yellow flowers hanging from the tips of the pencil-long young cucumbers. In exchange for this highly sought after golden chalice they leave its grower a fully developed cucumber, 18 inches long and as thick as a table leg.

Every night I water the garden and every morning Iím greeted with a harvest festival of cucumbers. So prolific is their propagation that weíre now in danger of being able to supply not just the village folk on a daily basis but the entire population of our parish council.

Through late winter, spring and early summer Mother Nature has worked her magic on the organic garden and continues to do so.

The rest of the magic I leave to the goblins.

email address
craigandmel@msn.com

Copyright © 2006 Craig Briggs


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