What about Bob?
I found the new "in" place to hang and it's not The Ale House. Saturday at Bob's Garden was a busy place with neighbors and volunteers helping to plant more than 80,000 seeds in the shop. Some come for dirt therapy, and I suspect that many come for Bob and Darla Beasley's congenial company.
They were planting Beef Steak tomato seeds last Saturday. Already growing were thousands of peppers and tomatoes, eggplants and asparagus they have been planting since shortly after the New Year.
Offering a wealth of knowledge peppered with casual conversation, Bob offers tips and helpful suggestions while he keeps in mind your likes and garden needs. Knowing Olan loves okra, he gave us a packet of Cajun Delight hybrid seeds which he says yields pods down the whole stock and provides more okra than you could eat in a year from just a few plants. Perhaps an improvement over the ONE okra pod we produced last year.
One of Bob's favorite peppers is the pimento, that red pepper you find stuffed in green olives, (my only experience with it). He says they are sweet and addictive right out of the field. He offered us any seeds we wanted to try, as well as asparagus and Yukon Gold potato starts.
With no room left in the shop they moved trays of seedlings down to the greenhouse, which he says is really a hoop house. Galvanized pipe bent into a roof with huge sheets of plastic over the top.
"Really just a huge cold frame you can move in," Bob says. He keeps an old air conditioner running at all times to bring oxygen into the space. An electric heater provides warmth in the evenings. If the sun is shining in the day the temperature can quickly approach 100 degrees without any heat. The first year he used propane and lost 5,000 plants because the propane tank malfunctioned in the cold. The poor seedlings froze.
Bob is working on aquiring a greenhouse which has all the temperature, oxygen and humidity controls that make our local greenhouses grow the full, stocky transplants you buy in the spring. They are adding herbs to this years offerings and are pouring over seed catalogues to bring us the very best.
The only fertilizer that Bob uses is Ag Grand Fertilizer. An all natural organic fertilizer that smells like a combination of dead fish and bonemeal. His gardens are wholey organic and include many heirloom varieties.
Churning with thirty years of garden wisdom and suggestions, I am reminded to buy a tape recorder to capture this wealth of knowledge for our next visit. Tips on watering seedlings and how to plant tomato transplants up to their first true leaves. Memories of growing up in SW Colorado in broom corn country where the native americans cut the stocks.
When the produce stand opens 3334 E 1/4 Road please tell Bob you first learned about him on this blog so he will keep letting me hang out!
"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."