Late start gardening this year

Published 5:45 am Friday, April 27, 2018

Now that winter is rearing its icy head, I am not one of those people who wax nostalgic about fireplaces and heating their homes with open fireplaces or wood/coal burning stoves or furnaces.

Last Wednesday evening, my neighbor, Lester Clark, finished turning my garden under for the first time in 10 years. I usually make do with the Troybilt Horse when it comes to getting the garden ready to plant but I am convinced that deep plowing it periodically, usually about every three years, is worth the cost and effort because it brings soil that has had a good rest back to the surface. Plants, especially sweet corn, seem to perform better than they did the year before when the ground is worked all the way down to the sub-soil level.

I have no scientific evidence to prove or disprove the validity of this assumption and it may, in fact, simply be a figment of my imagination. All I know, for sure, is that my bodacious sweet corn has not performed nearly as well as it should have over the last couple or three years and I’m fixing to see if a long over-due, good, deep, plowing will make any difference.

That is, of course, assuming that it will stop raining long enough for the ground to dry so Mr. Clark can come back and disk it. At this writing, it’s pouring rain on Charlie Brown Road and there’s no let up in sight for the next several days. I’m starting to wonder how Lester feels about working on Sunday because, if the forecast holds, that’s the next time we’ll have a shot at getting his tractor back in the garden without it getting stuck.

My brother, Andy, will probably be here, later this week, raring to fire up the horse and get some seed in the ground, but I suspect that’s not going to happen before the first of May. My only consolation is that next door neighbor, Billy Hale’s, garden is nearly as far behind as mine. I don’t even try to keep up with Billy who has usually hoed his corn, beans and tomatoes by the time I start getting mine in the ground.

Ditto for the late Bertha McQuerry who raised the largest garden in our neighborhood until she was in her 80s. Bertha often had her garden hoed the first time before I had mine planted. More than once she called to see if I was sick because she hadn’t seen me in the garden when she had driven by. But if the weather was fair and it was daylight between mid April and mid August and you were looking for Mrs. McQuerry, the best way to find her was to head for her vegetable garden.

Two weekends ago, my younger brothers, Steve and Keith (aka Keeter) posted Facebook photos of themselves admiring their potato patch in our big bottom at the mouth of Blair Branch in Letcher County.

They had just finished planting 50 pounds of Kennebec Irish seed taters. Suffice to say, that’s over 40 pounds more than I’ll be planting if I’m able to find any Yukon Gold seed potatoes. I’ve decided it’s far easier and less expensive to buy taters at the grocery store than it is to grow them. On the other hand, there are few, if any, garden vegetables that taste any better than fresh, young Yukon Gold “new” potatoes cooked or fried within an hour after they come out of the garden.

In the meantime, right beside our front yard, I have a plot plowed up that measures roughly 60’ x 90’. That’s roughly 5,400 sq. feet of growing space that may, ultimately, prove to be overly ambitious for Andy and me. On the other hand, finding us selling lazy wife green beans at the Garrard County Farmer’s Market is not totally beyond the realm of possibilities.

I keep telling folks that Brother Andy and I are going to kill a bear. I intend to load the gun but he’ll do most of the shooting if we pull it off.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.