Nita Johnson

Predicted storms for the weekend prompted me to try and do some last minute pre-storm planting on Friday evening. I’d bought some red cabbage and a couple of purple tomato plants at the Flower and Garden Show last weekend and hadn’t had a chance to set them out.

The joy was wading through the partially dried garden to set those plants out.  I bogged down in the ground, but I wasn’t going to be discouraged. If the predicted heavy rains did come, I could always use the excuse that the rain drowned my plants rather than admitting that I didn’t set them out soon enough!

It was discouraging to go into the garden and feeling the ground give way beneath me but the pleasure was that the peas are about 2 inches tall and the beans are peeping up through the ground. The lettuce plants are looking green and leafy, and the broccoli plants that Tara shared with me are going to produce some fine salad additions by the end of summer.

Not so well with the strawberry plants that Carol gave me. Carol cleaned out her strawberry bed and shared the plants that had been cleared out. I can’t believe how many plants she cleaned out of a 4x8 foot space! I went to her house to pick them up and she had five large flat boxes of strawberry plants for me! Granted, I wanted strawberries, but never dreamed she’d supply me with an entire patch of plants. My garden competitor--my husband--convinced me to put the plants in rows in the upper end of my garden, which I did. He insisted that putting them on the lower end with less sun and more ‘traffic’ by the barn would surely be the demise of that strawberry crop.

I set out four rows of Carol’s strawberry plants in the upper end of the garden and despite my husband’s advice, tilled up the area at the bottom end of the garden to set out more. The lower end of the garden has the richer ground, having once been the edge of the woodline and never being ‘used’ for anything than woodland growth. Husband protested greatly, telling me that “four rows of strawberries is enough.” So, I gave up the tilling and reluctantly went on my way in search of other potential strawberry plots.

Imagine my surprise the next day when I came home from work and found husband tilling up the same space I’d begun tilling the day before. Only he was tilling up a larger spot than I’d started. When I asked him what he was doing, he just grinned and then I saw the newspaper wrapping that Carol had used for the strawberry plants she’d given me. He’d decided to use the rest of the strawberry plants in that spot for HIS strawberry patch! He’d also planted potatoes, beans, corn, and set out cabbage plants in his garden.

I checked his garden out a few days ago. The cabbage plants look healthy and strong. Minute peeps of green are bursting through the ground. To stand from my garden looking down at his garden, I see a lot more green in his than in mine.

I think it’s just weeds, though.

Staff Writer Nita Johnson can be reached at

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