Pat Shingleton: "Playin' in the Dirt"
Whether its flowers, fruits or vegetables we are fortunate in South Louisiana to enjoy our gardens year-round. I prefer "pot" gardening or should I clarify, "container" gardening. Years ago, vegetable gardening wasn't a hobby it was an assignment. Fruits and vegetables planted, hoed, cultivated and harvested were consumed during the cold months. Occasionally, "Pap Price" would sow rye grass into the garden to increase soil nutrients. It seems that after you've done gardening as a kid it sticks and today, the task is a hobby enjoyed by me and my brother Kevin. Our recent stretch of nine days of rain totaling ten inches prevented Kevin from preparing his garden while my containers have held the tomato plants for almost a month. My friend and Master Gardiner, Camm Morton, planted his tomatoes in February and shared with me his "Better Boy" results. Kevin cranks-up his "roto-tiller" to prepare the garden and if it's on the "fritz," he "puts in the garden," as our grandfather would call it, the old way. The actual preparation in Western Pennsylvania begins in February with what were called old storm windows. The elevated windows were placed over the seedlings and even though there was snow on the ground the window acted like a mini greenhouse. Kevin has "spaded the garden" just as Grandpap Price did when we were kids. With a wad of Red Man in his cheek, he stands back to admire this work. He also visits his chiropractor the day after.