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Hartselle Enquirer

A change of plans

One of the lessons I’ve learned since being relegated to the sidelines for two months is not to count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Last winter, I devoted a lot of time and effort to building plans for what I envisioned as my biggest and most ambitious garden project in 2015. Seed were gathered from the bountiful yield of the 2014 summer and fall harvest and stored for safe keeping. Yard waste was stored and composted adjacent to the garden plot and the ground was cleared and made ready for an early spring seed bed. I even stepped off the rows and plotted where the squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, okra, peppers, field peas and corn would be planted.

That plan crashed on March 28 when I landed in the hospital with a broken hip. I felt my wife and better half, Geanell, wasn’t physically able or mentally prepared to step up and assume what had always been a task I cherished. She set the record straight a few days later when she told me, “you’re not going to have a garden this year.” The comment came while I was laid up in a rehab bed after I had asked her to refill my water bottle with ice.

How surprised I was when I arrived home from rehab and found potted tomato plants sitting on the patio.

Geanell had come up with an alternate garden plan.

“I bought four different tomato plants – Better Boy, Big Boy, Beefmaster and Atkinson-,” she explained. “I’m going to set them out in large containers filled with potting soil and grow them on the patio. That done, with newly discovered green thumb skill, she added a banana pepper plant to complete her project.

All five plants are growing with uncanny speed. If the pace continues, we may be forced to find a different space for the patio furniture. At best, we can look forward to having homegrown tomato sandwiches for lunch this summer.

In the meantime, my plan for a prolific and diverse garden has changed to a patch of fall turnip and collard greens. It will be hard to beat a dinner of chopped mustard greens and a home grown patio tomato when the first frost appears next October.

Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.

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