Garden full of home-grown goodness

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

“How’s your garden?”

This is a question I get from time to time from folks I know around town. We have a pretty good li’l’ ol’ garden, a verdant oasis on the High Plains. I’d like people to think that I planned it all, worked the soil with my bare hands, leaning on my hoe as the plants rose from the ground.

Nope, that ain’t me. Truth is I’d rather be lounging under a shade tree falling asleep.

When it comes to the garden I always give credit where credit is due, and that goes to The Lady of the House.

“It’s her garden,” I say. “I’m just the labor dude. She shows me where to push it, pull it, dig it, plant it or scoop it up and I do it.”

If developing the family garden had been left to me there probably wouldn’t be one. I probably would’ve scraped out some beds in the hardscrabble dirt, blended in some manure and had a go at it. Nothing would’ve grown, I would’ve declared gardening a waste of time and gone back to my shade tree.

Not so for The Lady of the House.

Two years ago we went out and bought a bunch of lumber. “What’s all this for?” I said. “Are we building my tree house?”

This was answered by “the look.”

“We’re making frames for raised beds for a garden,” she said.

Soon, what had been a sun blasted, hard baked part of the yard was laid out with rectangular frames laid end-to-end in rows. Then came the topsoil, a smattering of manure, hoses for an irrigation system and other gardening stuff.

That first year the garden seemed to be magic. It happened when we went out of town for two weeks.

When we left the plants were just peeking out of the ground. When we came back the garden was an explosion of green leafy stuff.

I used to give suggestions on what to plant in our garden. That first year I suggested we plant lots of zucchini, totally unaware that one good plant could provide a zucchini a week for half of Clovis all summer long. After a month of leaving bags of zucchini with friends around town we found we had more zucchini than pals.

The next year, I suggested eggplant. What I didn’t know about the long, purple things was they multiply as rapidly as zucchini or rabbits.

We also learned that eggplant parmagana is about the only thing there is to make with the things.

The Lady of the House decides what goes in the garden now.

This summer there are Roma tomatoes, three kinds of potatoes, sugar snap peas, grapes, strawberries, two kinds of onions, green chile, Anasazi beans, black-eyed peas, corn, pumpkin, cucumbers, watermelon, bell peppers and one lone zucchini plant.

My job is to continue waging my personal jihad against goatheads again this year. I thought for sure that once they sensed my anger at their existence that they wouldn’t dare poke their shoots through the soil in my yard ever again. No such luck. This year they came back with a vengeance.

So it’s another summer of gardening. Another summer of watching things turn green. Another summer of plucking goatheads and another year of enjoying home grown stuff from our green oasis on the High Plains.

If you haven’t gardened yet, you ought to give it a try.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: