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Is your garden in?

It’s time to put in your farm garden.

Brent Murphree, Senior Editor, Delta Farm Press

April 18, 2024

2 Min Read
Tomatoes may be the biggest reason I have a garden.Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s garden time. As a matter of fact, April is National Garden Month.

I asked ChatGPT why a farmer should plant a garden. It replied, “Beyond their practical significance, farm gardens hold profound cultural and spiritual value for those who nurture them. For many farmers, the act of gardening is a labor of love, a tangible expression of their connection to the land and its rhythms.”

I was surprised that ChatGPT was such an emotional and in-touch large language model, but I can go with that.

I find gardening a good release. If I can’t get a story to work right, I’ll go out to the garden, dig a few holes and blow off some steam. Then I can go back to the computer with a clearer mind. It really does work for me.

I know several farmers who plant gardens for their workers or for their kids to harvest and sell on the side of the road. As a resource, farm gardens are great for raising a variety of food crops with very little input.

The profits raised by farm kids tending and selling their vegetables have reaped many benefits, not the least of which is the discipline it takes to make a good crop.

Our farm gardens varied from a few rows at the edge of a cotton field to a backyard garden in sandy soil that lost its struggle when water demands were too high.

A couple of years we planted a huge garden in my grandparents’ feedlot. The nitrogen in the soil caused the plants to grow triple the size of normal garden plants. It was green and lush, with an abundance of vegetables.

I’m always in planning mode with my garden, trying to figure out a better way to water, plant or arrange the plot. This year I plan to develop a system that uses water from my pond to irrigate the plot when rain is sparse.

Like a good farm operation, I usually rotate my vegetables and never plant the same thing in the same place. Last year, I used marigolds as a barrier for the squash bugs that invaded my zucchini the previous year. I guess it worked, but I supplemented the marigolds with a bit of commercial insecticide.

I planted winter greens in October. They loosen up the soil and make it easier to plant into the heavy soil in the spring. The greens are now bolting and going to seed, just in time for the spring plantings.

My final plan for the garden won’t be set until things are actually in the ground.

Now, in terms of the profound cultural and spiritual value that ChatGPT mentions, I know I’d much rather be digging a hole in the garden or driving a tractor on the farm than sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Oh, wait…

Read more about:

Farm Life

About the Author(s)

Brent Murphree

Senior Editor, Delta Farm Press

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