Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

My name is Phil. I am just another gardener in a sea of 'people of the earth'-a slowly disappearing breed of homo sapiens who would rather spend countless hours of hard labor in order to eat a dish of spring potatoes than take a quick ride to the grocery store and simply buy them. We are a stubborn lot that refuses to give up our connection with the soil. If you are a member of this website, you are, no doubt, among this dying group of weed warriors that brave the elements and the forces of nature to harvest a fresh bounty of home grown veggies.
However, the sitcom 'Green Acres' comes to my mind every time I think of my current living situation....only in reverse. I've always considered myself a dyed-in-the-wool country boy. My home place in rural northwest New Jersey was nestled in the midst of three dairy farms. It was an agricultural community reminiscent of the early days of the 20th century where everyone you knew grew their own vegetables-to do otherwise was simply unthinkable.
Over the years I have slowly migrated further and further south to the rural areas below the famed Mason-Dixon Line. The further south I travelled, the more I found a double edged gardening sword-the growing season was longer but the garden pests increased in quantity, size and variety. Up north, I would simply plant enough for myself and the pests to share. Down here in Virginia I could plant twenty acres of green beans and the pests would eat them all.
Recently I have moved within the city limits of Roanoke-a home I share with almost 100,000 other people of all shapes, sizes and colors. In my home of Sussex County you would be hard pressed to find 100,000 people in the entire county...unless, of course, you were to count all of the livestock raised there.
How did a country boy who could grow a 200 pound pumpkin from a coffee cup full of soil find himself in the middle of a southern concrete jungle? Alas, it all started one evening as I perused the now famous web site called Match.com and found a very attractive Roanoke City schoolteacher named Julie. Little did I know that as I emailed that charming little lady I would be a few years and several hundred dates away from being a bonafide city dweller.
This blog will be a veritable 'fish out of water' tale that I will attempt to update periodically as I try to harvest a few bushels of vegetables out of a tiny 50' by 100' city lot which is currently mostly covered with gravel. If you stop by regularly, I will try my best to share my sometimes humorous and frustrating gardening experiences with you.
Thanks for the visit....I'll be back soon.

Views: 147

Comment by Aliza Ess on April 16, 2012 at 4:51pm

Nice to meet you Phil! Loved reading your story.

Comment by Yvonne on April 16, 2012 at 9:31pm

Good to meet you Phil. Wishing you luck with your new quest - I too will be watching with interest as I attempt to do the reverse of what you are doing......by the way, 50' x 100' in the city sounds like luxury to me!! ; )  


Comment by Phil McNeish on April 29, 2012 at 6:13am
I warned you that I would be back so you only have yourself to blame if you're reading installment number two of this mindless matter. I'm laying in bed at 5:30 AM on Sunday morning wondering why my body insists on waking me up on the weekends at the exact same time that I wake up to get ready for work during the week. Doesn't this tired old body know that weekends were made for a little R&R?
My efforts to get back to the garden plot that I scratched out of the back corner of our entirely gravel-covered back yard have been for naught. Julie and I will be married in just a few months in the front yard and my outdoor efforts have been concentrated on getting that area all 'Gussied up'. I spent the entire afternoon in that little postage stamp sized area that separates the house from Memorial Avenue, the main thoroughfare which connects Grandin Village to our little neighborhood. I have spent the last few weeks pulling weeds out of flower beds, trimming the walkway, and building a white picket fence to surround our little piece of Americana. The Koi in our pond have been watching with placid interest as I wheel yet another load of weeds and winter debris into the backyard where I dump it all in my garden plot. The Koi pond takes up about a third of the front yard and never fails to stop a small family in their tracks that were walking down the sidewalk towards the village. The little boys and girls let out little squeals of delight as our 5 pound Koi swim up to the surface to greet their visitors. Before we put the fence in, folks would just amble into our yard to take a closer look at our orange and white whiskered wonders. As I had hoped, just a waist high set of white pickets now keeps the young ones on the side walk and far enough away from the pond to avoid a splashing mishap.
All this time I have spent in the front yard has brought me to the grim realization that my front lawn is actually no lawn at all but, rather, a collection of chick weed, clover, dandelions, thatch grass and other assorted southern weeds. I would be hard pressed to say that even a third of the lawn is actually grass. But, alas, the impending wedding with all it's preparations will stop me from doing much about it this year. For now I must be content that the front yard is green...but next year will be another story. I will make it my aim to subdue those alien green life forms to make way for a blanket of lush grass as Grandin Village has never seen-all this to the chagrin of my blushing bride who does not want a manicured lawn but a more cottage-like mussed up looking plot. In the end I know that I will cave in to her demands for an English Garden look to the front yard because, at 5'2" and a little sized 4 body, she is just too darn cute to say no to.
Well, at this point I may be rambling so I'm off to the kitchen to make some coffee and ponder today's activities. Until next time, may your April showers bring May flowers.


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