Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Great Gardening Story...!

I get a newsletter every week from a company that sells land in the Ozarks. It's called The Ozarkland Newsletter!

Besides having some great parcels of land for sale, the owner, a gentleman named Neil, can spin a story that makes reading it a true pleasure! I always enjoy reading what he writes, but since this weeks article deals with gardening...or rather the urge to garden, I got Neil's permission to share this story with you!

I think you will enjoy it...!

The Salad Wars

Dear Reader:

I think I must be akin to those whales you read about who get so confused that that they swim up rivers only to flounder in the shallows. That is, sometimes I sort of lose track of time and space and reality.

Take the current crisis playing out at our house as I speak. Right now, giant vegetables have invaded our home and are occupying our spare bedroom plotting God-knows-what devious scheme to oust us from power.

Or something like that.

Here's how it started. Maybe you noticed what a brutal winter this past season was. Well, along about the end of February, I was really getting fed up with it all. Like a prison inmate, I began to let my mind wander to more pleasant times to come, when I'd be free again to bask in the warm sunlight of spring-time.

I began to steal my mind away from the gloom of winter by planning next year's garden.

Among my first plans was to end my usual habit of buying at Walmart bedding plants which have been raised in another climate zone, shipped cross-country and which are now maintained by listless teenagers. No longer would I be enslaved by the unimaginative selection and shoddy quality of WallyWorld.

No, I had a much better idea than that. I would be my own man, I would start my own plants.

Unfortunately, in the process of this really good decision, I made a really bone-headed mistake. First, I put together every thing I needed, seeds, potting soil, dozens of plastic and peat-moss cups. I even made little cutesy markers out of plastic knives.

What I forgot was a calendar.

It seems so obvious now, but the first step in starting bedding plants should be timing their germination so that they're about ready to be transplanted after the last frost. To my sincere regret, I neglected this seemingly minor detail.

You will note that today is April 2, 2010. The average last frost date here in my part of the Ozarks is May 10. Woe be unto me, I started this small field of tomatoes and cucumbers somewhere around the last week in February.

"Is this bad?" you may ask.

Well, yes. This is really, really bad. At this moment, we have lost the use of our entire spare bedroom to a jungle of leaves, vines and tendrils reaching hungrily out of tiny cups of soil that need to be watered every day like so many grasping, green goslings.

Some of the cucumbers are even starting to bear teeny and not-so-teeny cucurbits on their long, lush vines and now the vines are starting to invade and encircle the unsuspecting tomato plants next to them (can't we all just... get along?).

Just last week one of these rogue cucumbers grabbed Olia's ankle as she was walking past the bedroom door, and dragged her, kicking and screaming into it's dense mass of foliage until I came running with a butcher knife to save... oh wait, maybe that was only a dream.

But you get the idea. I never knew vegetable gardening could be so stressful. We've taken to barricading ourselves in our bedroom before going to sleep each night, and I keep an atomizer of herbicide on the night-stand just in case things turn ugly.

There are still have about five weeks of regular frost to go, and I'm staying up nights repotting lest I have to spend each entire day watering (good thing we have our own well) but now some of the pots I repotted need to be re-repotted. Add to that the grisly new development that some of the tomatoes are starting to flower; I shudder to think what may become of us.

It's still another five long weeks until I can start putting these guys in the garden, - provided the doors are still wide enough to get them out of the house - but I've held up this long, so I'm not quitting now.

This spring is going to give the term, "salad days" a whole new meaning.

Now, didn't you enjoy that? It's sure good to put a grin on your face, in my opinion!

If any of you are still looking for some land in the Ozarks, why don't you drop in over at Neil's place and look it over! Plenty to choose from, and different price ranges. Always a good set of pictures for each parcel, driving directions as well!

While you're there, don't forget to sign up for their newsletter...if only to read what Neil comes up with from issue to issue!

Really, you know I wouldn't steer ya wrong! I think you'll enjoy the visit! I always do...!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit on the patio until the rain comes. I have some fresh pineapple upside down cake to go with it!


Anonymous said...

The family place is in Izard. too many snakes and bugs.

HermitJim said...

Hey OGT...
Know what you mean about the bugs and snakes! We have 'em both in big numbers here in Houston.

I sure appreciate you dropping by today, buddy!

Momlady said...

I'm kinda in the same place as your author. I'm afraid the sunflowers I started (too early) may take over the back porch. I'll be repotting today. Can't grow vegetables thanks to the deer so I'm growing food for the birds. Pineapple upsidedown cake...yum. Got whipped cream?

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One, Funny story. I was going to start a garden too but I hope to be gone for the summer and besides without shade everything would die anyway no matter how much water you give them. And then theres the critters.
But I am on my way with a fresh pot of coffee and a huge piece of your cake.

HermitJim said...

Hey Momlady...
Just think what will happen when the critters find out that you have some edible stuff growing on your porch!

Hope the sunflowers do well with the repotting!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey JoJo...
Yeah...there are some special problems with growing a garden without shade! Shade cloth can be used, but if you are going to be gone anyway...then it's best not to try.

Sweetie, I sure thank you for coming by!

Felinae said...

Thanks Uncle Hermit, Ol' Neil can sure spin a tale. I loved it!

Have a wonderful Saturday and a Happy Easter!

HermitJim said...

Hey Felinae...
He does have a way with a story, doesn't he?

He's written some pretty good articles that you can find over at

Hey, thanks for the visit...and have a great day today and a Happy Easter!

Dragon said...

13,000 for 1.4 acres there is Bull...
Max I risk for that is like 1,300...
Collect his garden tips but don't let him near your wallet.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dragon...
Good to see you. Hope you have a great day today and a Happy Easter tomorrow!

Thanks for the visit!

Anonymous said...

Hey HJ, that was one cool story, reminded me of the file Little Shop of Horrors, and I had an urge (can't control them, you know) to post on it and reference to here.


HermitJim said...

Hey AV...
I sure appreciate the link, buddy...and also the visit!

Have a good day!

p.s....signed up as a follower on your blog!

Anonymous said...

HJ, I see a new follower, thanks