Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

June 29, 2014

Can’t everyone grow their own veggies?

ASHLAND — The sight of home vegetable gardens brings to mind a gardening adventure worth sharing.

My friend and I heard someone say at church that growing your own vegetables could save money while providing your family with better, fresher food.

We had about 10 kids between us and all of them were big eaters.

He was a faculty member and I was in public relations. Neither of us knew anything about growing vegetables.

But we were determined to show our wives that anyone could put seeds into the ground and grow prize-winning veggies.

Our first problem was land for our garden. A mutual friend lived at the end of a subdivision that had some unsold lots.

Getting permission to use the land was easy, but neither of us knew about having the soil tested to determine what it needed. Fertilizer was fertilizer, as far as we could tell.

A local farmer plowed our garden plot since the ground was too hard for our borrowed tiller.

We loaded up with plants and seeds and two bags of 10-10-10 fertilizer. No one said one of those numbers was nitrogen content.

We charged into that newly-plowed ground and planted potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, corn, onions and radishes, as I recall.

To our amazement and with little tending, those plants grew strong and green. We were proud as punch when the county agent complimented us.

We knew we had to wait until the potato tops died away before we dug the spuds. But no one said they should be planted in hills.

We had to have that part of the garden plowed a second time to find some of our potatoes.

But we had absolutely the best looking cucumber and melon vines in the county. Rabbits, groundhogs and deer ate just about everything else.

One of the neighbors said those potatoes kept coming up for three years.

KEITH KAPPES can be reached at kkappes@cnhi.com.

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