My younger brother, Andy, was already talking about gardening two weeks ago..He is ready to get all the tomato cages and fall bean hoops set aside and spend a day cutting down cornstalks and all the dead stuff that grew several dozen varieties of fresh vegetables between April and the end of last November..Seed catalogues are already piling up all over the house and Loretta keeps shaking her head.
“I guess you want me to keep this,” she is prone to muttering almost every time the mail runs. Of course I want her to keep it, even if I have no intention of ordering from that particular catalogue. I’m like a kid with a Spiegel’s Christmas catalogue in the 1950s. I can wear a seed catalogue out without spending a dime.
Truth be told, I hope to order from Twilley’s,,Shumway’s, Totally Tomatoes and Baker’s Creek Seed Companies.. You can google them online and order your own copies, if you hurry, or even order online at your convenience..All four companies have varieties that we love that are not available elsewhere.. If you don’t have a computer or a smart phone, call someone who does and get them to send you the catalogs. It only takes about a minute per book. I don’t have any of the addresses or the catalogs handy and I’m already in serious deadline trouble with your editor.
Late last September, in an effort to beat the raccoons out of our late crop of Bodacious sweet corn, Loretta, wet with sweat, came into the yard with her garden wagon loaded down with several dozen ears of plump corn.
“This has to stop,” she exclaimed!.Nobody in their right mind needs a garden anywhere near this big and it’s working me to death and breaking my back. Next year I want it to be about one-fourth this big with just enough room to share some stuff with Barb and Helen and Adella and Joe and Connie and Charlie and Linda and Kevin and Sean and Johnny and Nannie and Don and Judy and Diana and some of our friends at Copperhead and Friends of Paint Lick.
“All we need to plant.is some sweet corn and green beans and zucchini and crookneck squash and leaf lettuce and banana peppers and bell peppers and eggplant and Yukon Gold potatoes and Wala Wala onions and cucumbers and snow peas and no more than a dozen varieties of tomatoes and some spinach and turnips and mustard greens and sweet potatoes and cantaloupes and watermelons and maybe some pumpkins if you can keep the cinch bugs out of them. I don’t know why you bother with cabbage because we don’t even make kraut anymore.”
Of course I rarely set foot in the actual garden anymore because I’m too crippled up to do anything other than watch it grow.. Andy does all the tilling and hoeing.Thomas Begley did the initial turning and disking last year and my buddies, Ralph King and Johnny Sexton, sometimes stop by to help Andy out.. I do sit on the front porch and start a couple or three hundred plants from seed.. Andy gets the seedlings into the ground..I help pick a few peas, tomatoes, beans, cukes if I can reach them from a lawn chair and drag it along with a walking cane…Loretta is out there nearly every day to pick, harvest, preserve and distribute to friends and relatives.
Any gardening I do this coming year will involve a walker or a wheelchair unless Mr. Parkinson and cancer both take drastic turns for the better.
In the meantime, Loretta says we absolutely have to have more Glacial sweet corn from Twilley’s and Giant snow peas from Baker’s Creek.. I’ll probably order something from Totally Tomatoes and Shumway’s because old habits are too hard to break.