The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

River Ramlings- South


October 23, 2019

Growing seasons are unpredictable in most parts of the country, and living here by the Missouri River is no different and sometimes worse! We always plan to plant our seeds in the garden around the 10th of May. Then we plant our plants and seedlings out around the 25th of May. It is a super plan, but most often, we have to expect or plan for variables. This year we had the garden rototilled ready for planting right on schedule. Then the variable came in the form of rain that lasted for days until my garden was a bog! We had planted potatoes and onions before the rain, but the cold, wet weather did nothing to promote growth. We always consider rain a blessing, thankful forever drop, but still a variable in our garden plans. Our family worked together when the mud had dried, finishing planting the entire garden and melon and pumpkin field by the middle of June. Being near the river gives us higher heat levels and humidity; with our gumbo soil, our plants require a plentiful amount of water. We irrigate often, and our garden is generally bountiful and beautiful. For being on the later side of planting our garden flourished, we had delicious fruits and vegetables to eat, sale, and share. There is no comparison to homegrown, garden fresh, vegetables, and fruits. We harvested tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, kohlrabi, beans, corn, cantaloupe, okra, carrots, beets, rutabagas, brussel sprouts, swiss chard, radishes, watermelon, peppers, summer and winter squash, potatoes and onions. Food tastes better and fresher straight from your own garden where you know every product that touched your plants. Watering, weeding, and harvesting keep you busy, we enjoy all the steps and love the exercise it requires. With the benefits of fresh air, sunshine, a water fight here and there, it is well worth the effort. We always feel sad when the beautiful plants are hit like this year with a major winter storm and deep frost, and it shortens our harvest by weeks, so many melons are left in the fields for the cows and wild animals to harvest. In July, August, September, and October, we curse the critters that help themselves to the fruits of our labor. After the frosts in November, we are thankful for their volunteer cleanup crews who eat vines, frozen pumpkins, leftover melons, and anything else edible to them. It makes our cleanup duties much easier and maybe their winter not as hard as they fill their bellies. Our later garden planting caused a later harvest thus the loss. Many of our pumpkins weren’t colored yet; even covering them with tarps, we aren’t sure there will be many to harvest. We also gather the pumpkins to put them under the tarps, which is a challenging job! We have learned by experience pumpkin vines are tricky, they grab you and throw you down, unmercifully hard! We laugh about it, but the older we get, the more it hurts! Our end of harvest celebration is Pearson’s Pumpkin Patch and hay maze, where we invite Winifred and Big Sandy Schools to come for a yearly field trip. Providing there are enough pumpkins left, we then open to the public for 1 or 2 weekends. This year it may not be a possibility, we will see when the sun comes out, and we uncover the field. We are keeping positive thoughts. As we close our gardening books, we always think of next year, what we can do to improve, what new seed varieties we should try, we plan, read, and dream as well! And so it goes here by the river.


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