Friday, July 1, 2011

Florida Gardening—Part 3

By Hobo Hudson

When Dad planted the seeds, he simply pulled back the mulch to make an open spot about 3 inches across and carefully put one seed in each spot where we wanted a plant to grow. Watching Dad doing the work, I commented that we will have enough seed left over to last us four or five years, but Dad told me that we would throw the leftovers away and buy fresh seeds for the next crop. I thought about it for a moment, and using my best Dale Carnegie technique, I said to Dad, “Since we’re going to throw the seed away anyway, wouldn’t it be better to plant several seeds in each spot in case one doesn’t germinate?”

Dad stopped working and stared at the ground. A little while later, he looked up to me, he said, “Gee Hobo, you’re right. I never thought of that.”

Following my advice, Dad decided to plant five seeds in each spot, and it was a good thing he did because only two or three plants actually came up. As the plants grew, Dad pulled out the smaller plants one by one until only the best plant was left in each spot.

I also got the bright idea of conserving space in our garden area. I ordered Dad to stick stakes in the ground so that the tomatoes and cucumbers would grow vertically and not take up so much space. To keep Dad busy afterward, I told him to rake leaves and grass and add them to the mulch and also to add a little fertilizer to the mulch now and then.

Hoping that Dad would follow my orders, I took off to the garden supply store. Rambling through the aisles, I spotted something called “Jungle Growth,” and thinking it would be cool to have our garden grow like a jungle, I hurried home to Dad and barked at him to come back with me to the store to get a couple of bags.

While Dad was loading the “Jungle Growth” into our cart, I looked around and saw something called “Miracle Grow.” I threw a little box of it into our cart as well because I thought it would be a miracle if anything grew, the way Dad does things without my help.

When we got home with our supplies of nourishment for our garden, Dad opened one of the bags of “Jungle Growth” and said it was ready-made compost. He spread the contents of the two bags on top of our mulch and said it would act as a side dressing, feeding the plants as their roots grew under the mulch. He then mixed a tiny amount of the “Miracle Grow” into a gallon of water and said he would pour it on top of the plants about once per week and the plants would start growing like crazy.

Just before Thanksgiving, I was again rambling through the garden supply store and found a package labeled “Magic tomato seed.” The package said the seed was very fast growing, and tomatoes would be ready to eat in no time. I bought a package and planted the one seed as soon as I got home. The next morning, I found the plant was fully grown and sporting two beautiful tomatoes that were almost fully ripe.

Since a friend of mine in California, a tomato aficionado, couldn’t get any tomatoes from his mom and had to steal them off the kitchen counter, embarrassing him when the video camera caught him red-handed, I decided to pick my two instant tomatoes and mail them to him. My friend was sure happy to have his very own tomatoes even though he said they seem to taste a little like plastic. I think it was due to my having picked them before they were fully ripe.

In early December, the cucumbers began to mature, and I traded six of them to Mom for her share of the meat, since she is a vegetarian. I also picked a lot of black eye peas for Mom to parboil and put into the freezer and then, disaster struck! The TV had said a hard freeze was coming during the night to our area in Florida, and Dad and I rushed out to pick all the peas we could and three small tomatoes that Dad thought would ripen inside the house.

The next morning, the garden was a sad sight. Everything had frozen with the exception of our little cabbage plants and our sweet onions. Dad simply shook his head, waited a couple of days for the weather to warm up, then pulled all the lost vegetation out of the ground and scattered it on the mulch.

To be continued



About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom, the blog’s editor, is publishing a Hobo Hudson adventure in sequences on her website at:

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Bruny Hudson
Bruny Hudson, manager and editor of, assists as a consultant with Hobo’s blog.
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