Where have the vegetables gone?
I miss Novalee Graham and his peers.
During the years that I earned my living across the county working at The Atmore Advance, he appeared regularly on our pages.
Whatever the season, Mr. Graham was growing something worthy of note. He enjoyed a reputation for cultivating the biggest watermelons and pumpkins. Let someone else bring an extra-big zucchini to the newspaper to be photographed, and he'd be on the doorstep with something better the next week.
The vegetables didn't just appear at the newspaper office. My friend Gwen Dorriety always advised people not to leave their cars unlocked in the summer.
It occurred to me this week that it's growing season and we haven't had any gardeners on our pages. It made me wonder if people have stopped gardening, or if they've stopped feeling welcome at the newspaper office.
Buck Farrior in the County Extension Office said folks have had a hard time growing tomatoes – and especially champion ones – recently because of a virus that attacks tomatoes and peanuts. Nonetheless, he thinks there are still gardeners among us.
One year our friend Mr. Graham had champion tomatoes. We asked him the secret to his success and he shared it.
There's been plenty of "real rain" around here recently. If it spawned any champion tomatoes or watermelons or zuchinni in your garden, we'd love to feature them on our pages.
Michele Gerlach may be reached at email@example.com or 251.867.4876.