H. Neal Glanville: Adventures in amateur gardening

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H. Neal Glanville

H. Neal Glanville's column appears in the Craig Daily Press on Mondays.

When the girls were very young as was I, we often had something growing somewhere in our yard.

One year, while living on Washington Street, the girls argued for weeks what they should grow that coming spring. I, being the “grownup” and leader of our merry band of green thumbs, figured the only way to settle our squabble was to have everyone pick one thing and we’d draw from a hat.

I had each of the girls and myself go to separate rooms to write down their choice; I didn’t want any copying going on.

After our selections had been made, we gathered in the living room, tossed our choices into the hat and then argued about who was going to draw.

That slight disagreement was settled quickly by the girls’ mother, who walked in, told me to sit down, held the hat up just high enough and let Melissa, the youngest, pick.

As Melissa’s hand came out of the hat, I closed my eyes hoping it wasn’t going to be some foreign growth like zucchini or egg plant. Thankfully, the pick was good old American corn.

When the weather started to warm and steady itself, I called our landlord and asked if we could plant a garden. The answer was yes, as long as we didn’t do any harm to the existing grass.

Well, the whole dang yard was grass except for the driveway. But the girls and I were not to be denied our corn patch — if the driveway was our garden spot, so be it.

We made a blood oath — pretend blood — that no matter what it took, we’d have corn by the end of summer. Our neighbors to the south laughed for weeks as we tried to break through that hard-panned chunk of dirt.

We once watered over night, only to gain two or maybe three inches into that mixture of clay, pea gravel and some forgotten moon mission stuff.

Everyone grew tired of our endless toil, except our friend, Ted, an ironworker from the power plant who one afternoon showed up with a borrowed jack hammer.

He didn’t bother with anything fancy, he just punched holes in the ground and we planted corn.

Not a single stalk grew higher than four feet and not more than five ears were edible, but we grew it and we ate it.

Several years later, we moved up to Breeze Street, where the dirt was real and growing anything was as easy as throwing seeds on the dirt.

One of the girls, or perhaps it was me, had read a book about the Native American way of putting fish in the ground and planting on top of them.

How cool was that? We loaded up the fishing stuff, headed for the Yampa River and fished for fertilizer.

At that time, none of the sucker family was endangered, so that’s what we brought home for the garden. I dug a trench about 20 feet long and 8 inches deep, threw in the fish, buried them and planted all kinds of stuff on top.

Sometime in mid-August, the neighborhood started complaining about the “ghastly odor” coming from who knows where. We joined in the search for the “smelly dead thing,” but it never was found.

That fall, we gave away the biggest tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers I’ve ever seen. Just before the first big snow, I tilled up our garden of stink and layered it with cedar shavings. It didn’t stop the monster growth of whatever you planted, but it did help with the “ghastly odor.”

Now for something completely different

Does anybody out there know and understand the new health care bill? If so, please step forward and explain it to the rest of us.

Hey, you be careful out there.

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