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Jack Simpson - 05/29/09

Perhaps you remember the column I wrote recently about deciding to have a small garden this spring. Because of the state of the economy, I reasoned a victory garden, like we had in World War II, might help the family budget. I liked the patriotic feeling I had back in the war years.

Now, let me be clear. I'm no Master Gardener and my plot is not fancy. Instead of a plow, I dug my spot by hand with a shovel. I didn't expect to depend on my garden for my total food supply, and I didn't plan to grow enough to can or put in the freezer. I wanted to use as few tools as possible because you have to clean those suckers!

And, when you mulch a small garden spot, you get dirty. Your spouse doesn't care to keep washing the dirt out of your jeans. So, keep your small garden plot simple. I did.

I made a run on the big box stores, hardware stores and nurseries to find the few plants I needed. I planted tomatoes, very few potatoes, a bit of lettuce, set out a few onions and planted a few green beans. With all the rain, my plants, for the most part, are "lookin' good."

I took on my duties knowing the heat, drought and bugs may destroy my dreams for some fresh, home-grown veggies. I also know I could probably save myself a bit of time and trouble if I just went to Ben Evans produce stand and bought what I needed.

Anyway, I took the plunge and here it is the end of May and not yet harvest season. So, how am I doing?

So far it has been more expensive than I remembered. Plants, seeds, fertilizer and insecticide are not cheap. The bugs have been standing by since I planted awaiting fresh leaves. Now they have a nice meal and are enjoying themselves. I did manage to cut some lettuce leaves, washed them in some cold water and enjoyed them on a few sandwiches. I guess the bugs agreed I should have a share since I planted the seeds! I am looking forward to eventually being able to harvest a few tomatoes to go along with the lettuce and green onions. This could be a rewarding crop if Mother Nature cooperates.

Maybe being outdoors, between the rain drops, and managing to be a little successful will make gardening 2009 worthwhile.

Ben Evans' produce is looking better and better right now. All I have to do is let the weeds and bugs take over, jump into my truck, ride a few miles down Ga. 20, and buy my vegetables from the Evans family. They greet you with a ready smile and a few kind words. The critters hanging around my little garden are not nearly as kind.

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Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.