Planting A Garden

Did you plant tomatoes of Good Friday as tradition says you should? Are they still alive?

Growing up, we always planted a garden, a big one, supplying our family with most vegetables for the year. Mom canned or froze everything possible from it, so we ate good food year round. And she could cook anything and make it taste very good.

I usually hated working in the garden, wanting to be fishing or running wild in the woods in the spring when we had to plant and during the summer during harvest time. But I surely did like eating the products of our labor.

After my brother and I got married and moved away from home mom and dad continued the big garden and we helped a little when we could be there. Every visit home meant carrying frozen and canned goods back with us to eat until our next trip.

When I bought my house in Pike County with enough land for a garden, I tried to have my own. My lot was nothing but trees, so I cut and cleared about a half-acre of it behind the house. I will never forget dad visiting soon after I got it cleared and tilled, and he commented that it looked like good dirt.

That first spring I planted squash, tomatoes, corn, butterbeans, cucumbers and several other things. I got more squash than I could eat but, as the corn and butterbeans grew, we had a dry early summer and I found my well would not supply enough water to keep then alive.

Watching things I had worked so hard to plant and weed wilt and die was terrible. So I gave up.

After a few years I decided I had to have fresh tomatoes, so I crawled under the house, cut the shower drain and ran a pipe out from under the house to a small patch I had tilled. In it I planted eight tomato plants and four bell pepper plants.

Every time we took a shower the water drained out to the plants and kept them watered. It worked great for several years then the plants started dyeing way too early. I realized I had to move the plot every few years so did that, and it worked until I ran out of places the drain pipe would reach.

A few years ago, I dug a hole at the end of the drain pipe and buried a 55 gallon drum without a bottom or top. I put a sump pump in it so when the shower drains into the can it pumps the water anywhere
I want it around the back yard. That works well and I can move my tiny tomato and pepper garden around without running out of space.

I often wait too late to plant. Growing up we always planted on time and had fresh tomatoes by
July 4th. Procrastination this year could be a good thing. Hopefully sometimes in July this year I will be eating tomato sandwiches from just picked tomatoes. Nothing is better!