Clark Hollow Ramblings: Some plants like water, some don’t

Believe it or not, even with the heavy rains we have endured, I have had several questions from my gardening friends about the status of my garden. The answer is mixed. Some plants like all the water, and others don’t. I cannot remember ever losing a sweet potato plant, but that’s exactly what happened. I bought two dozen healthy looking plants from the co-op several weeks ago and put them in the ground. That afternoon we had another inch and a half of rain. They seemed OK at first, but as the rains continued they fell over and the stems rotted right at ground level. I bought some more the other day. It looks like maybe five of the original 24 will survive. That is assuming, of course, we are not in for another week or two of rain.

On the other hand, the potatoes are almost up to my waist, and are blooming to beat the band. I graveled under one plant the other day and came up with one about the size of a buck marble. But, even that was encouraging. The corn is coming along, but it and the tomatoes are almost tired of waiting for some hot, sunny days. I do have some green tomatoes about the size of a golf ball, and a fair amount of bloom. So, I am hopeful they will be coming along when it gets hotter and drier.

And if you are looking for riddles, here is one for you. My mother always told me that lima beans like poor soil and hot, dry weather. To that end, we never put any fertilizer in the row when we plant them. The truth is the butter beans look pretty good. They are a bit sparingly, as you can imagine, but I’m hoping they will strengthen up when the sunshine gets stronger and the soil dries out a bit.

My peppers haven’t grown much, but they have thrown out a few blooms and filled out a little. The cucumbers and yellow crookneck squash have just been put in the ground, but they are holding their own. I am not a huge cucumber fan, but those squash, if you get them while they are pretty small, and slice them up with some new onions, some cheese and bread crumbs and make a casserole, they are quite tasty.

And, of course, the broccoli all comes in at once. I had seven plants and have had broccoli the last two evenings with my supper. I suppose all that cheese detracts from the healthfulness of the broccoli, but, at this point in my life I tend to eat what I want and what tastes good. And speaking of what tastes good, in the last two weeks I have had fresh fish from a friends’ pond and some squirrel gravy and cornbread. And my beautiful bride even picked and seeded enough ripe cherries from the cherry tree to make the first cherry pie of the season. It’s a wonder I don’t have to turn sideways to get in the door, but if it is the kitchen door, I will find my way in there one way or the other.

And finally, on a sad, personal note, for those of you who knew my sister Libby, Elizabeth Bennett, I am sorry to report we lost her in the early morning hours of June 5. I am sad, of course, but she had a strong faith and a well-worn bible. I always considered Libby the middle child, when actually she was the sixth of ten children born to my mom and dad. I guess I got the “middle” part from the fact that she was 10 years older than me, the youngest, and 10 years younger than our oldest sibling, Louise.

Because she was that much older than me, I don’t have memories of her when she was a kid, but growing up as a youngster I remember she liked to play horseshoes, and she had a side arm sling that said ‘you better stand back out of the way or be prepared to run’ if it came in your direction. She had a bit of mischief in her when she was younger, but it was never hurtful.

My sister Ann told me this week that she received a gift from Libby once, and written on it were the words, “I smile because you are my sister. I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it.”

She raised four good kids. In her adult life, she had major health issues. Three surgeries for cancer, surgery to repair a hole in her heart and a knee replacement, that I recall. Through it all, she persevered. She had enough determination for all 10 of us, and if she had an opinion she would share it with you, sometimes whether you wanted it or not. Gosh, we are going to miss our Libby, but I’m looking forward to another game of horseshoes with her. And, sis, watch where you throw that thing.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 154 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.