The weather at the present moment is beautiful in Alabama. If you have ever lived in Alabama you would know what I am talking about.
Already this March we have had snow, a beautiful spring weekend, rain and finally warm weather again, although we could still have a frost.
So planting time here according to my Hubby and my Dad is after April 15th.
It doesn't matter how many times I drool over bedding plants I know I really can't buy them just yet.
But in the mean time, it wouldn't hurt to share some old fashioned gardening tips my Dad used to share with his neighbors, while he patiently waited for that magical day in April to arrive, so he could once again get his hands dirty.
My Dad, always grew prize winning tomatoes. Everyone always talked about how big and juicy his tomatoes were. When he was asked what he used to grow such wonderful tomatoes, he would simply smile.
My Dad didn't really have any gardening secrets. He would first plow his dirt up with a old fashioned wooden plow. I am sure if you used a tractor it would work the soil just as well, but it just wouldn't be the same. He would plow up the garden several times over a period of several days. I used to love to run in the dirt after he plowed, the soil was so soft and the smell was amazing. He would then add cow manure, not a store bought manure, but the real stuff. Again he would plow this into the dirt for several days. Finally he would announce it was time to plant. Each plant was tenderly planted, fertilized and hoed gently around as the plant grew. If any of them showed any signs of dying he would simply water it.
I remember one time when the plants were full grown with loads of tomatoes on them. He came to me with a proposition. He would pay me a quarter for each little green worm I could find on the plants. After looking most of the afternoon I didn't find any.
I found him hoeing around the squash. He asked, "well did you find any?" I replied, "no I didn't". He simply smiled and laughed. It was his joke on me. He then asked me, "Did you really think you would find any?" I don't know I told him. He put his arm around me and told me he had already checked all the plants earlier he just wanted to make sure he didn't miss any!
Every year when we plant our garden I miss my Dad. I think about his simple ways of gardening. He didn't use pesticides,chemicals or fancy equipment. It was all just hard work, love and patience. Perhaps these were his secrets of gardening.
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