Putting the “Ugh” in an Ugly Garden

I want to tell you all about my lovely  June garden… I want to post beautifully composed photos of the peas going gangbusters, of the fresh strawberries we pick to sweeten our morning cereal,  the lovely  green beans  in full flower,  and the prairie forbes  just opening their petals to the sky.


But tell the truth and shame the Devil, my Grandma Juanita used to say. I’m a sho’ nuff knotty-headed organic gardener and I’ve got to tell it like it is.  Something is going on in my garden this year, something that puts the “ugh” in an ugly garden.   Brace yourselves.

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A Few Commandments for Noob Tomato Growers

Thou shalt suffer no weed to touch the leaves nor crowd the drip line of the tomato plant.  Mulch thou the drip line of the tomato with weed barrier, that the tomato’s roots remain cool in the summer sun, and free to feed upon the nutrients of the soil without hindrance.

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Portrait of a Knotty Headed Johnson Woman

Aunt Elaine

Dear Aunt Elaine: There is a reason I gave my daughter your name.

My Auntie Elaine was my grandma’s youngest sister; and she grew Ohio State Fair blue-ribbon prize-winning tomatoes.  By the time the children of my generation came along she didn’t do much in the way of large-scale gardening they way Grandma Juanita did; but she never gave up on tomatoes; and these she grew in a long double row on the strip of land behind her garage.

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