As recently as two weeks ago, I was swearing that this was it for my gardening career. I even composed a classified advertisement touting my tillers for sale after falling flat on my duff picking beans and then spending over 15 minutes floundering around in plowed soil before managing to get back on my feet.
Mr. Parkinson simply finds it impossible to rise from a prone to standing position without first finding something to climb upon and sit for a minute or two. I finally managed to dump the five-gallon bean bucket, turn it upside down and get my behind upon its bottom.
I suppose Loretta would have eventually found me or someone would have driven by and noticed I was down but, frankly, I’m glad I successfully managed the unassisted effort. If it happens again I’ll be able to pull off the maneuver in one smooth motion provided I remember to not go to the garden without a five-gallon bucket handy.
Anyway, after erecting myself, I went back to the house and told Loretta that if she wanted a mess of beans she was going to have to pick them herself. I also told her to go out and take one last look at the garden because it was the last one she was going to see on our place if I had to have anything to do with growing it.
When it became apparent that my wife didn’t really care whether or not if we had fresh green beans for supper, I finally found one those ugly, ultra-lightweight, used-to be jade-green-before-it-faded, injection molded, plastic chairs like the ones you see for sale for nine bucks near the front door of any Dollar Store.
I discovered the chair legs were long enough to perfectly straddle the row of heirloom Little Ette bunch beans and that I can scoot it along as fast as I could have walked. Whodda thought that an old, meant-for-the garbage heap patio chair would become the best gardening implement I’ve come across in decades. There’s no describing the amount of lower back pain this thing has already saved me. I can now pick a row of bunch (bush) beans as fast, or faster, than most people who don’t have to contend with Mr. Parkinson’s limitations.
Then, late last week, my brother, Andy, showed up. There would be no garden if Andy hadn’t been coming to visit for a couple of days twice a month. I might have been able to grow some tomatoes in container pots and even get a short row of corn and beans planted, but there is no way that I could have done more than dream about the nearly 6,000 square feet we currently have covered with lush vegetation and about 50 different varieties of vegetables. We have, for example, 13 varieties of tomatoes, five different peppers, four different cucumbers, four beans, and at least two varieties of well over a dozen other vegetables.
So instead of putting the tillers up for sale, Andy spent a couple of hours putting them through their paces.
We use a small one to cultivate the existing vegetation and the big “horse” to break up new ground for a fall garden where we planted red-eye fall beans and two varieties of late corn.
By the time you’re reading this column, if the good Lord is willing, I will have sown lettuce, radishes, turnips, mustard greens, beets, onions and direct seeded some fall broccoli as an experiment I’ve never tried. I’m also hoping to try planting another small crop of Little Ettes from seed I’ve saved from the first planting. I’m told that won’t work but I intend to find out for myself. I’ve been told that fall snow peas won’t make it Kentucky but mine usually do and I’ll be planting another row of Oregon Sugar pods before the first of August.
I also have an appointment with my neurologist on July 19. He’s the guy who keeps telling me to do all I can for myself as long as I can do it unassisted. If I can’t do it the way I used to, I’m told to improvise.
I simply can’t wait to tell him about the Dollar Store bean-picker chair.