Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 16, 2013

RAY DAY: Putting out a garden

Kokomo Tribune

---- — One of my readers told me she would like to put out a garden, as I do each spring.

Well, first off, you have to have the desire to do so, and you have to be ready for a disappointing season. Here in Indiana, you can’t gauge tomorrow by using today.

We live in a weather belt that gets some rain one day and lots of rain on other days. You really need to have at least 15 hours of daylight so the plants get enough sun and the ground stays warm, but not hot.

And you have to know what you want to plant. I love most veggies, but not all of them. Put out just one row of green beans in the spring, and then about a month later put out another row. That way you don’t have to lose the plants due to beans being on the bush too long.

If you are a tomato lover like I am, put out lots of them. As they grow, pinch off the suckers on some of them, giving you a staggered growing season.

Onions are a wonderful thing to grow, but a pain in the neck because you have to be down on your knees a lot, putting those small plants just far enough in the ground. Good onions need about 17 hours of sunlight, so not too many people grow them because we just can’t get that much sunlight here in our area. Order your onion plants from a nursery that specializes in them.

There were some years when I planted more than 1,000 onion plants called Walla Walla. I got a good crop, so I chopped them up and put them in freezer bags for winter.

I love bell peppers, and I try to put out a row of them that usually is about 20 plants. But it seems that someone in the neighborhood likes them a lot too. As I work the garden, I take a count of the peppers as they grow. Two days later, many of them are gone.

Oh well, someday someone will come over and tell me “thanks” for those delicious veggies they have been helping themselves to.

It is not the neighbors close who do it, because they know I will share with them. That is my way. Sharing with another gives me grace, and I need all the grace I can get.

Some people plant their gardens as to the weather and how the moon is showing. I haven’t used that theory because I have had good luck with my plants, and I try to nurture them with the proper amount of food and care that they need to thrive in our kind of weather pattern.

And of course, like all gardeners, I know plants need some praise about how great they are doing.

Planting a garden is a pleasure I look forward to each year, because when I am out there all by myself except for the Almighty, I feel an inner peace. I seem to be able to talk with Him, one on one. After all, He is giving me the space and the knowledge to grow a garden, so He deserves to be honored with my praises.

This is what gardening is all about: You start it, you nurture it, you weed it and you praise it. What it becomes and how fruitful it is depends on how much care you give it. Sounds about like how life is, doesn’t it?

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.