By Jody Fuller
I just finished watering my crops. Since most of them are planted in 5-gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage, I have to water them just about every day. It seems that the ones planted into the earth stay hydrated longer and appear healthier than the ones in the buckets. They simply have a better foundation. Those with the earth sustain longer and are more aesthetically pleasing, but the ones in the buckets taste just as good.
I notice a lot of thing when I’m working with the homegrown groceries. First of all, due to our very mild winter, I notice all the bugs. When I walk out, I’m immediately attacked my gnats, mosquitoes, and other unidentified flying objects. It’s as if I’m covered with the Army’s insect repellant, which is supposed to be like Off, but I always called it “On.” Bugs were definitely attracted to it. Well, that or we were just always in bug-infested environments. Perhaps it was a little bit of both.
While watering each bucket, I take a long look at each plant. I always have my garden pruner in my other hand and am quick to snip off dead pieces, particularly on my tomatoes plants. I want to take care of them and want them to look pretty at the same time. If a tomato has been attacked by a horn worm or any other type of vile creature, I’ll snip it and throw it into my compost pile.
Oftentimes, I’ll get a surprise tomato plant out of it. There’s a rather large one growing in my compost pile right now. Lucy had several growing in her compost, so I dug most of those up and repotted them. They are arguably my best-looking tomato plants. Who knew?
I have others, along with pepper plants, that popped up in other buckets. Perhaps they came from soil from my compost. Maybe the wind blew the seed. I don’t know. It really doesn’t matter. I have them now, and they are my responsibility.
One of my biggest surprises of the year has been my watermelon vine. It’s a miracle, I tell you. Last year I planted an overabundance of them in a very small area. I really went overboard. Remember, it was my first year having a garden, and I didn’t know what I was doing. The vines grew very well but didn’t produce very much fruit. I think I only got to enjoy one watermelon and enjoy it I did. Others tried to grow but something got ahold to them and they quickly perished.
There is but one vine this year, and it’s beautiful. It wasn’t planted, and it wasn’t planned; it just happened, naturally. It grew from last year’s failure. God often works like that, at least in my garden of life.
I didn’t plan the beautiful tomatoes that came from the compost, but with the foundation of rich soil and nutrients, it had no choice but to grow. They just popped up one day, and once they popped up, I couldn’t not take care of them. They were my responsibility, and I’ve enjoyed watching them grow. I really enjoy watching them feed my family. What a blessing, in so many ways.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at email@example.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com