My Missouri Garden

About 10 years ago I was living in Missouri with my wife and our rather vocal Black Lab, Buddy.   If it could be properly barked at, Buddy had it covered and believe me, out in rural Missouri, there are a lot of things for a young pup to bark at.  The barking could be incessant at times.  We will revisit this feature a little later.

Buddy, fierce defender of the realm

We were renting a house out in the country on about four acres, surrounded by trees, fields, cows, and not much else.  Life was pretty good.  Our first spring there we decided to attempt a small vegetable garden in the Missouri soil, which in actuality is more of a sticky, red clay and requires a slight departure from traditional garden bed prepping.  I tilled down as deep as I could, and brought in some topsoil and compost to help bulk things up.  After this, I mounded everything into neat little rows, and started planting.  We planted various types of tomatoes, squash, peppers, lettuce, sunflowers, onions, and carrots.  Just like anywhere else, some vegetables grew well, others, not so much.  Tomatoes, which love hot and sunny weather, thrived and I soon found myself having to get creative in order to support plants that were exceeding five or six feet tall.  Sunflowers also fared well, growing to seven or eight feet.  Carrots, we discovered, when planted in clay soil have a tendency to grow about two inches long, and about four inches wide.  If anyone has a desire to grow carrot pancakes, dense clay soil is key.  All in all, we were looking at reaping a pretty good harvest.

Our first attempt at sunflowers

Now, as I mentioned earlier, Buddy was a bit of a barking enthusiast.  Early one morning I was jolted out of a deep sleep by the deafening sound of….silence.  I sat up and looked around the room, no Buddy.  I got out of bed and stepped out into the living room, still no Buddy.  I turned the corner and there he was, sitting by the sliding door in the dining room, attentively surveying his domain.  I followed his gaze, and then I saw them.  My dog, who will bark at a buzzard flying half a mile away, had not let out a peep about the dozen or so cows now tromping through our garden.

A few of the garden crashers

The damage was extensive- pepper and tomato plants uprooted, my neat little rows flattened, and cow crap everywhere, but we learned some valuable lessons that morning.  We learned that cows enjoy a nice country garden just like anyone else, and we also learned that a fence will protect that garden much better than a cow-shy Black Lab.   

Peter Reed 2/9/19

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