Clark Hollow Ramblings: Hump day for the garden

By Jamain via Wikimedia Commons
JAmain via wikimedia commons

I think I need to change my opinion about something I wrote. And, no, this has nothing to do with fixing things that aren’t broke. I wrote in this space a few months ago when we were planting our garden that I had been having bad luck with my onions. In recent years, it seemed that they never grew to any size before the tops went to seed or they dried up. I am glad to report there has been a change in onion production.

Some years ago, Mr. Levi Atkins told me I should never let the July rain fall on my onions. So, on the first day of July, I pulled mine up. Most of the tops were falling over, anyway, and I doubt there would have been much more growth to the onion, itself. We were pleasantly surprised with a very nice crop of onions. Many of them were the size of a tennis ball. And it was time to get them out of the ground; a couple had started to rot.

I put them in an old shed that used to hold my motorcycle. (That’s a story for another day.) I spread them out on the floor where they could get some air and dry out. Normally, we clean them up, chop them in the food processor and freeze them in plastic sandwich bags, and put those inside another bag. You need to seal them up tight, because, even in the freezer, you can smell them when you open the freezer door.

This year I am going back to the old ways, and I intend to hang about half of them in the shed. If you can get the moisture away from them they keep very well that way.

The garden has taken on that mid-summer look. Two weeks ago I wanted to show everyone the garden, as it was bursting with growth and blooms. Now, as harvest time approaches, it really isn’t that pretty. We have been eating vine ripened tomatoes for about a week, and at the end of last week, my bride and I picked two overflowing buckets of green beans and canned 14 quarts.

The corn is showing its silk and I need to hit it with a little Sevin to keep the bugs out of the ears, and we should be able to sample a few pieces in a week to ten days. The potatoes are falling over, and I am going to have to watch them closely if we get a lot of rain. They, too, have grown about all they are going to, and I will need to get them out of the ground before much longer. We have graveled under several plants and had plenty of new potatoes to go with the new peas. Now, it is about time to get the rest of them up and in storage.

I have learned a valuable lesson this year about vine crops and raised bed gardens. They don’t go together. The cucumbers, butternut squash, crooked neck squash, cantaloupes and watermelons have taken over not only the raised beds, but the space in between them. I had never tried watermelons, butternut squash and cantaloupes in the raised beds until this year. If I have any luck with them, next year they go in the field behind the woodpile.

One final thought. My article last week about fixing things that aren’t broke apparently touched a raw nerve for a lot of folks. In my mind, it was only a voice in the wilderness offering another opinion. The vast majority of the comments I received were along the lines of, “excellent,” “wonderful,” “best article you have ever written.” I did receive one call that characterized the article as “arrogant.” I listened carefully and was told if I would just listen and understand what they were trying to do, I would agree with them. I listened and replied in the most non-arrogant tone I could muster, that I did understand. I just disagreed with them, and there was nothing wrong with that. I thought I was writing a minority opinion. From the number of comments I have received, I may have been wrong about that.

I trust you have had a good summer so far. Be careful out there, stay well, and don’t go ’round fixing stuff that ain’t broke. Thanks for all your comments. At least I know someone is reading this column.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 151 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.