Monday, March 26, 2007


I don't know about where you are, but down here in Alabama it is so dry, and the pollen is so profuse that it is blowing around in big yellow clouds. ACK! It makes my head hurt and I am so wishing for some rain this afternoon. The weather says east Alabama might get isolated showers and storms.

I have been spending a lot of time outside planting my garden. I am doing a lot of container gardening this year. So far I have tons of tomatoes, squash, watermelons, romanesca veronioca, malabar spinach, grapes, raspberries, sunflowers, gerbera daisies, african daisies, livingstone daisies, clematis vines, zinnias, dahlias, moon vines, black-eye susan vines, trumpet vine, gourds, hawaiian baby woodrose, phlox, cosmos, a gloriosa lily, a few apple trees from seeds that came out of a yummy apple I had recently and probably a few things I forgot to mention.

The strangest plant I am growing this year is romanesco veronica which is a kind of cauliflower.

As you can see, it looks like some sort of alien or math fractal. I am not especially fond of cauliflower, but this just looks too neat not to try and grow.

Over the weekend my husband and I went to buy a digger, or a tiller if you will. First we tried Home Depot in Sylacauga, but they did not carry anything but a teenie one that my rocky soil would have ground to bits. Next we tried Russell Do It center but they only rent them....and at $215 a week I'd rather use a stubborn mule to break ground. Then we tried Wal-Mart as I had seen one there recently that was reasonably priced...but they were sold out. The feed store here didn't have one either. I don't get it...don't people garden anymore?

I went back to Wal-Mart this morning and asked about the $299 one and they said they would have some more in this week. I have a great deal of space in my yard that I am going to use to garden this year. I still need to plant my lima beans, okra, corn, turnip greens, onions and peanuts.

If everything grows well then I will have a stand at the end of my driveway if any of y'all get hungry for some fresh, homegrown produce.

Are any of you gardeners? If so, what are you growing this year?


Anonymous said...


No, you are not the only gardener out there!
I live in North Texas and it sounds like you have the same "groundbreaking" problems we have here! Since I can't afford a tiller, I've been spending the last couple of years mulching and upgrading the soil with nutrients (and manure). It is getting easier to plant, but I usually have to drench the soil a little to loosen it up a little to plant. This year, thanks to the self-sustainability articles I've been reading, I am concentrating on growing stuff I can eat! I've planted Green Zebra tomatoes, Thessaloniki tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, jalapenos, cucumber, lime basil, Genovese basil oregano, rosemary, mint (3 types), blackberries, raspberries, lemon verbena, bergamot, lemon balm, and a few other things I can't remember right now! Not bad for an urban farmer! Someday I hope to grow more on a bigger piece of property in the country, but for now, I am very happy at what I have been able to produce. I highly recommend reading the "Backwoods Home" magazine - either online or in print. I think you would enjoy the spirit of that publication and their emphasis on buying and growing locally.
Good luck to you on your growing endeavors!

Your Friend in Texas

Susan of LocalTint said...

I sneezed just looking at that picture.

Your post reads like a Bailey White story--in a good way.

Demopolite said...

As I say every year around this time: I don't mind the trees having sex...I just wish they would stop doing so on my car.

Loretta Nall said...

It is tree sperm when you come right down to it, isn't it? least it isn't gooey :)

Don said...

Loretta, if you buy a tiller make sure it’s a rear tine tiller of good quality or it may wear you out. In 1975 I tried a couple of tillers that my neighbors had and with my poor back condition they nearly killed me. Then I settled on what to me was a very expensive (around $500 at that time) Troy-bilt 6HP Horse model with counter-rotating rear tines. I can operate this tiller with one hand while it tills and I just walk along leaning on it for support. It's still working well after all of these 27 years of duty. I just looked at the Troy-bilt website @ and I see that now they offer about 8 models ranging in price from $550 to $2.800.

My garden now is smaller than before, containing only 6 rows of 50 ft. each. I grow corn, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, snap beans, butterbeans, field peas, and sometimes a few other things in the summer, and in the fall I grow collards, kale, mustard, and turnips, primarily. The only thing I’ve seeded so far this season is two half rows of Silver Queen corn, and I plan to finish seeding the rest of those rows with corn within a few days, then start the rest of my garden within a week or so. With the draught conditions we’re having I already had to put soaker hoses in over my corn which should be coming up in its trenches any day now.

Don said...

Oh, I meant to also say that where you live there are probably muscadines growing wild in the woods, but I want you to come back and get more of mine in August or September.

teeitup63 said...

You might be surprised at how well those small tillers with the spring steel tines work. They are high rpm and really dig into clay soil, the only problems are rocks & roots can get stuck imbetween the tines. I have a Sthil brand that is similar to mantis etc.

Get somebody with a harrow to come break the ground up for you first and till in compost & mulch. Do not use fresh wood chips they rob soil of nitrogen.