Gardening project takes on grand scale – Houma Courier

To understand just how ambitious this gardening undertaking was, you should be aware that because our backyard is too shady for growing vegetables, our garden consists of a trowel, a heap of recycled soil from previous seasons, and a collection of plastic pots of various sizes and colors.

Gardening: My job is finding suitable plants, getting them into pots and watering them throughout the season. The process is usually very stressful … on the plants.

They must tolerate too little sun, too much sun or both, in alternation. They can’t send their roots deeper to get more moisture, they must rely on our watering, when we are not away, traveling somewhere.

Unaccountably, those which overcome the stress and produce fruit do so about the same time we are away for a week or two. But those plants which are healthy when fall frost comes can count on being moved to the protection of indoors. We have one scrawny bell pepper plant that made it through the winter in that fashion. It’s too early to tell whether it will bloom and produce fruit again.

Watched pots: They may “never boil,” but last week, I witnessed a miracle involving pots. In my rush to get tomato varieties not yet available as seedlings, I planted tiny seeds in moist peat moss, following the prescribed formula.

I expected that only one in four would actually sprout and turn into a repottable plant, so I planted 16 seeds — eight each of two varieties — and kept the potting tray damp and covered near a sunny window. To my amazement, a week later, I had 16 seedlings, each pair of leaflets leaning toward the sun. It was miraculous and wonderful. However, I don’t have that many large pots to spare, nor enough soil to fill that many pots.

I may have to open a business to get rid of the surplus.

Indiana gold? Speaking of gardening, when my Indiana brother-in-law is not shoveling snow or enduring the roar of the Indianapolis 500, he or his wife are surfing the Internet, forwarding all manner of wisdom they find there.

We don’t necessarily share the same taste in “wisdom,” but this past week they forwarded a tolerable batch that fits the usual hole at the bottom of this column. I have selected a few items from that list of tricks for reducing stress.

– As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. … Pick them up tomorrow.

– Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue.

– Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

– Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

– Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

Responding? Contact Bill Ellzey at 381-6256,, or c/o The Courier, P.O. Box 2717, Houma, LA 70361.


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