Diary of a (Frustrated) East Texas gardener
Postcard from Texas
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:00 PM
LINDEN, Texas - During WW11 there were "Victory Gardens" all over America. Every blessed American family was encouraged to have a back yard garden. Every little bit helped in the war effort. All the back yard gardens in America, combined, grew thousands of tons of food stuffs. There was at least one back yard garden in Imlay, Nevada, during that Great War. Mom was the gardener, I turned the soil by shovel. I can still taste the radishes, and remember how they gave me indigestion. But it was mom's contribution to the war effort. I was proud to help.
Every spring I still get the hankering to till the soil and plant seeds, then watch the plants grow and produce poison free foodstuffs. I totally refuse to use poison sprays in my garden. If I wanted to eat poison, I'd buy produce from Mexico. Down there, they still control insects by spraying the crops with DDT. Its banned in America, but not down there. I just plant enough for me, and the bugs and worms. After all, they gotta eat too. I wouldn't want mister tomato worms wife and kids to starve because I poisoned the daddy worm. Live and let live I say.
I bought a used rear tine tiller from a friend for a hundred bucks. That was a steal because he paid eight hundred dollars for it a few years back. So I tilled the soil, got it ready to plant, here comes a good rain just in time for planting. Spent thirty eight bucks for plants and seeds, and fertilizer.
Now folks, don't try to walk alongside the tiller and till by one hand like the guy on television commercials does. He makes it look like a cake walk. Tried it. Been there, done that. After I got the tiller off my garden fence, it took about two hours of hard work to remove the wire that was wrapped around the tines. And two hours to fix the fence. Then two hours to rest up. I'd like to thump a knot on the TV guys noggin.
The tomatoes get ripe, here comes the tomato worms. Just how does a tomato worm know where my garden is? There has not been tomato plants grown in this back yard since WW11. Those suckers been sitting around waiting all that time, for a ripe tomato to appear? Maybe they hired a taxi cab to get over here from somewhere. If they just crawled from there to here, seems like the birds would have gotten them. A bird can see a worm from top of the tree. I don't know. One of the worlds unsolved mysteries.
You know what a squash bug is? Its a mean little sucker, flies around looking for a squash plant to demolish like a missile drone flies around the skies looking for terrorists to demolish. And they are about as accurate in finding their target as the drone.
The beautiful little innocent cotton tail bunnies that loves gardens are living nearby, and they have to eat. If I allowed them to starve, the animal lover folks would probably sue me. What I should do is have rabbit stew for supper. But, live and let live. My motto.
When the crop does come in its like a tsunami. Squash running out the ears. Fried squash, boiled squash, squash casserole, etc. Then you start giving it away to friends. I walk up on their porch, see them peeking through the blinds, they won't answer the door, hoping you will go away with your squash. I love their look of dismay when I lay the sack on the porch and leave. Hope I don't get shot.
So I spent about two hundred hours tilling and planting and weeding and watering and harvesting the crop. Spent about fifty dollars good American money on the garden, and harvested about sixty dollars worth of produce. Thats a ten dollar profit for two hundred hours of hard work. Lets see, how much per hour did my garden earn me? Ten into, no, 200 into, dang, someone figure it for me. I've gotta get the tiller fired up and ready to plow. Times awasting.
Contact Roy Bale at email@example.com.