portrait of Erin smiling in yellow top with trees in the background

Erin Brown

Speculative Fiction Author

6 – Ghoul Gardening FAQ

To reader fernfairy7, I want to say thank you for the famous-coffee-shop-franchise gift card!  You somehow knew that I was having a coffee-related issue (I’ll explain later) and you asked that I get myself a latte and spend the rest on the ghouls, and that’s exactly what I did.  I got them croissants, and a shot of espresso each.  The hilarity that ensued!  I’ll have to do that again on one of the holiday tours, the kids would love seeing them chase each other around, turning cartwheels and flinging their own limbs off in every direction.  The reassembly scene was a bit horrific, but the whole patch smells like coffee now, which is a bonus.

So why, you wonder, do I maintain a ghoul patch?

Well to begin with, it came with the property. One of the conditions of my becoming a Dubbaco Resident Witch was that I kept one of the official witch houses.  I got the cabin on the hill, and it came with the ghoul patch, so it’s my responsibility now.  Helena lives in the bog, and her house is pretty snazzy, but there’s a multiheaded saw-toothed whispering thing living in the muck under her house stilts, and I’m not ready to ask what it is, what it eats, or what it thinks of humans.  Jas lives in a tiny hut in the copse close to the swamp, which is nicer than it sounds but pretty spartan.  And all her monsters are in her head. (Apologies to the Agnesses who don’t like that description; I have the utmost respect for you all.  For the rest of the Agnesses, you know I’m right.)  All this to say, each living arrangement has its issues.

Secondly, you get a very specific kind of gravedirt in ghoul patches, and ours is one of the most well-stocked one in the upper Americas.  This dirt makes the kind of fertilizer that makes your tomatoes huge, delicious, and prone to giggling fits when beetles crawl over them.  The dirt is also used in a bunch of spells, and so it’s very valuable.  I’m trying out some roses along one fence, and the roses seem to be in good spirits.

And lastly, the very first mayor of Chippintrau was not the first living being here- we are permitted to live here by the land and its protectors, and we must never forget that.  Showing respect and neighborliness to some living, or unliving, folks who have been here longer than us tends to placate and even charm some of the hidden forces and shadow-world entities that still dwell here.  That includes the multiheaded saw-toothed new friend living under Helena’s house.

So, thank you to fernfairy7.  Just say the word, and I will send you a cup of undead dirt, to do with what you will, and maybe even some tips on effective lullabies to help you send your bell peppers to sleep when they are too chatty late at night.

EDIT: Helena has reminded me that while anyone can hear that my ghoul patch rose bushes are speaking at times, I seem to be the only person who can understand what they are saying.  It occurred to her that the effect of the weird, muffled babble sounds everyone else can hear is incredibly creepy, and that I might not want to inflict that on a reader.  So, I won’t be sending fernfairy7 the dirt, unless she really wants it.  Also- how creepy does something have to be to unnerve Helena, who sleeps at night above a giant multiheaded saw-toothed whispering bogmonster?  Anyway, the roses just sing nonsense word-sounds like “flup” or “newt” over and over.

EDIT: Helena named her bogmonster Fred.  She told me this with a straight face.

EDIT: Another Dubbaco Blog follower just told me to look up civet coffee. I don’t know how to feel about what you are implying there, in relation to my ghoul patch, but I am not sure Dubbaco has the climate for it. Still, that’s some Agnes-level thinking right there. You can decide if that’s a compliment or not.

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