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Posted: March 30, 2013 5:25 p.m.

The joys of a garden

Spring is here, and after we sailed past Good Friday and the risk of frost, it is now planting time! I’ve bought seeds and pots and I’m ready to plant something.

I even stopped by Patrick’s Feed and Seed, just to admire the broccoli plants and smell the fertilizer. It’s gardening time!

But this year, I’m breaking tradition with those who came before me. This year, I’m “container gardening.” I’m finished with tilling, hoeing, breaking up dirt clods, and all the traditional pains of in-the-ground gardening.

This year, I’ll put little seeds in little pots and I’ll grow everything on the back deck. “Why would anyone garden any other way?” I asked my son. And then, before he could answer, I figured it out.

Our ancestors didn’t do container gardening because they grew food in bulk and they needed to grow it as inexpensively as possible.

They would have laughed at my little garden, as they worked the red mud with their hoes and shovels and calluses.

Container gardening isn’t cheap; I had to buy pots and potting soil, and the cost of a small garden can add up quickly.

But if you plant like our ancestors did, you already have a free container. It’s called a “hole,” and it’s huge, and it’s buried somewhere in your back yard. All you have to do is locate where the hole is hiding and dig it up.

I’ve never seen a yard that didn’t have a hole buried somewhere. Some yards have two or three! And get this, once you dig your hole up, you don’t have to buy potting soil.

You can just use the dirt that came out of the hole! How convenient is that? Free dirt!

Our ancestors hated to hear the sound of a cash register unless they were the ones pushing the buttons. Their approach to gardening-in-the-ground was “dirt cheap” if you’ll pardon the silly cliché.

So, I’m bucking tradition, but that’s OK. This isn’t 1943, and I’m not planting a victory garden in case the Nazis invade the local Piggly Wiggly.

I’m growing peppers, tomatoes and herbs because it’s fun. Maybe I’m like that lawyer on Green Acres: a “gentleman farmer.”

Or maybe I’m just not that interested in shoveling a whole bunch of dirt anymore.

I’d certainly rather hunt for Easter Eggs hidden on top of the ground than hunt for a hole hidden somewhere below it.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

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