The Southern Agrarian

Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Clean it, Maintain it, Fix it


In a reply to a previous post, I was reminded of the need to learn to make do with what we have and to repair and maintain things. That brought to mind the two tools shown in the photo above – both tools have been in the family for several generations. The grubbing hoe is still in quite usable condition despite the handle being wrapped with a strip of metal that has been nailed in place. The axe, on the other hand, is just kept as a reminder of a time when tools were treasured and were not easily replaced.

One of life’s great lessons is learning that it always pays to buy quality and then maintain it. Quality tools, well cared for, maintained, and repaired as needed, are far better than saving a few dollars buying Chinese junk and then replacing it because it’s not worth repairing.

One of my routines is to always wash all of my garden tools and set them out to dry when I’m finished using them. Most of the time, that is all that is needed before hanging them in their place in the tool shed. If a tool should start to get some rust on it, I clean it off with a wire wheel or whatever is appropriate, rub a bit of oil on it, then put it away. About once a year, I go through all of my tools and use a file to sharpen them, but some tools get sharpened more frequently.

Wooden handles are too-often neglected. I use a rag to rub linseed oil into the wood handles of my tools. If they are treated with reasonable care and stored out of the weather, a good hardwood tool handle should last a lifetime and be able to be passed down to the next generation. Some folks prefer to paint their wood handles, but I’ve never had any desire to do that. 1) I love the look and feel of real wood, and 2) Paint can hide cracks and other problems that should be quickly taken care of.

The grubbing hoe in the photo probably came down with the family when they moved from Alabama to Florida in about 1921 – nearly a century ago. Although we usually associate covered wagons with pioneers moving west, that is how my grandparents moved their family and household goods down here. My grandfather built a covered wagon that was pulled by oxen. It was driven down what was called the Florida Short Route, marked by crude signs and tree carvings saying “FSR”. The cattle were carried by train, and some of the family was loaded into an old Ford, and off they went to find a place where the farming was easier than the rock-filled clay of McGehee Mountain in Clay County, Alabama.

New Era Resolutions

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America continues down the path to a new era – not because of who does or does not occupy the White House, but because about half of American voters now follow the cult of collectivism and egalitarianism while the other half bitterly opposes it. There is no room for compromise, no chance for reasoned debate. Both sides see this as “winner take all”. Both sides see no alternative to total victory or total annihilation. If this were just another political split, it would be a minor issue to be addressed in a future election. It is not. This represents an extreme cultural split on a massive scale. Our task as Southern Agrarians is to move as far away from that dividing line as possible. We must stake out the cultural high ground so that there can be no doubt as to which camp we belong – or neither camp.

To that end, this is a list of tangible things we can do, presented in no particular order.

  1. Be an encouragement and a help to your extended family in a way that will make it easier to decide to have a larger family. If that doesn’t apply directly to your current situation, then spend time helping another worthy family. The break-down of the multi-generation family has resulted in serious consequences for society.
  2. Boldly proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Leading a soul to eternal salvation is a greater accomplishment than anything else in this life.
  3. Live a virtuous life at home, at work, and in public. Always speak the truth. We are ambassadors of our great Southern culture and must serve as an example of what that culture stands for.
  4. Be part of a church that truly believes The Bible 1 as the literal word of God – and acts on it. There are far too many modernist churches that lower standards and try to become like the rest of the world. If you’re in one of those modernist churches, leave and find a real church that is not focused on entertaining the congregation.
  5. Use the power of the spoken and written word to advance the cause of restoring civility to America.
  6. Dress more formally than what is customary in today’s society. It demonstrates a respect for others – and for yourself.
  7. Pay close attention to manners and etiquette, and make them a part of your daily life.
  8. Pray – not a vain repetition, but pray like you are talking directly with The God who created the entire universe, because that’s exactly what you are doing. He listens to “specks of dust” like us.
  9. Seek out like-minded people, and form strong bonds with them.
  10. Treat others with respect. As conditions worsen, there will be those who proudly provided for their families in the past, but find themselves without work or, if they are fortunate, doing menial work. Your turn may come. While those who willingly live off of money stolen from the productive deserve our open contempt, resist the urge unless pressed.
  11. Follow the Boy Scout slogan of “Do a Good Turn Daily”. Find some way to help someone who would not expect it.
  12. Follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”. When hard times come, you can depend on no one but yourself and your closest friends and family.
  13. Produce some of your own food by gardening or small-scale farming, and raising chickens. Those are valuable skills that cannot be learned by just reading a book. It is also the key to our Southern Agrarian culture.
  14. Understand the foundation of what Southern Agrarianism is by reading I’ll Take My Stand. While Southern Agrarianism is not strictly defined by this book, it is the starting point.
  15. If you are living in an urban area, move to a semi-rural or rural area. The cities are not only increasingly dangerous, they are corrosive to the soul.
  16. Arm yourself and learn and practice to become effective in the defense of yourself and your family. Armed men are free men – disarmed men are slaves.
  17. Turn off the TV, cancel the cable subscription, and disconnect the antenna. TV has done more than anything else to destroy our culture. Don’t allow the filth and propaganda into your home.
  18. Home-school your children and help and support other home-schoolers if you can.
  19. Take control of your future by investing your retirement savings yourself so that the government cannot gain control of it.
  20. Make your home more self-sufficient: put in a well, start a garden, own a sewing machine 2 to make and repair your clothes, install a wood heating stove, increase the insulation in your attic.
  21. Adopt the idea of “Not for Our time, but for All time” when considering choices for your family and your home. Homes that were built centuries ago still stand today while houses slapped together only a decade or so ago are abandoned and demolished. Think long term for your family and your home.
  22. Secure your home. Rampant crime is just one of the results of a decaying society where civility is no longer revered.
  23. Embrace old-school ways of doing things: use paper and pen rather than an electronic device for taking notes (bonus points for using a fountain pen 3); shave with a double-edge safety razor and brush and mug rather than the latest multi-blade gizmo; resist the temptation to automatically upgrade to the latest technology 4.
  24. Resolve to give no credibility to political correctness. When it comes up, question it and force the source to justify what was said or written. Don’t accept it.
  25. Watch your language. Make a conscious effort to avoid any obscene or profane word coming from your lips. Crude language identifies the speaker with the worst elements of any society. That such language is now commonly used by “celebrities” is reason enough to shun it.
  26. Cherish those who are close to you and resolve to repair any relationships that need repairing. Your family, your spouse, your friends – those are more important now than ever, and will become even more so in the future.
  27. Display the Confederate flag – any one of them – on a regular basis. (see the Code of Confederate Flag Etiquette)
  28. Sharing a meal as a family is a time-honored tradition. Make the extra effort to have a more formal, structured dinner.
  29. Resolve to take away the power that the word “racist” has over us; at the same time, remember to treat all men of every race and creed with the respect they deserve as men and as souls that Jesus died for.
  30. Language is an important part of any culture – the English language is the language of our people. Don’t allow yourself to slip into the sloppy language habits that have become a mark of modern popular culture. Writing and speaking well are the marks of a civilized man or woman. Use correct English in your speech and writing. 5
  31. Collect books – not digital text, but real paper and ink books that can be read without batteries. As the popularity of digital text increases, there are bargains to be found in used books. 6
  32. Carry a pocket knife. A generation ago, every Southern male carried a pocket knife – it was almost a rite of passage. Somewhere along the way, the Nanny-state took over, and an incredibly useful tool came to be viewed as a dangerous weapon and a threat to be banned.
  33. Get out of debt as quickly as possible. Make it a top priority.
  34. Reduce or eliminate your income dependence by laying the foundation for your own business. Find something that you truly enjoy doing and that others are willing to pay for, and acquire the tools and the skills to provide that service or product at a profit. 7
  35. The Christmas season has become the emblem of materialism in America and a brief glance at the mayhem of “Black Friday” shopping will confirm that. Turning away from the greed and materialism is a wonderful opportunity for a family lesson in setting priorities. Rejecting materialism now will make life easier later when it is forced on America by a failing economy.
  36. Find something that you can grow or make at home to give away to others. For some, it is home-canned vegetables or preserves or home-made soap; for my wife and I, it is vanilla extract; for our son, it is egg nog in a variety of flavors. Turn back the clock a bit to a day when people didn’t buy everything from the store, but made it themselves. We also give away much of what our garden produces, and the surplus eggs from our chickens and ducks.

This list was inspired by a list posted at The Thinking Housewife blog. What can you add to this list?


This is an updated version of a post that I first wrote in 2012.

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Notes:

  1. Finding a church that insists on using only the King James Version is a big step in the right direction
  2. The old cast iron sewing machines will last for generations. Treadle and hand-crank sewing machines in excellent condition are still readily available – we have several of them in our home.
  3. While a quality fountain pen is not inexpensive, they will last for generations if well cared for. I have my father’s fountain pen that he purchased in the 1950’s. I had it refurbished and it is now as “good as new”.
  4. At the very least, consider using open source software and Linux rather than falling into the Windows/Mac upgrade trap.
  5. There are, no doubt, plenty of errors in grammar scattered throughout this blog. If you find them, please let me know so I can correct them.
  6. A first-class library can be assembled by making regular visits to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store.
  7. I spent nine months of evenings and weekends developing the software package that has provided a comfortable living for my family since 1995 – it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

One Acre Makeover

At some point last year, it became clear to me that I needed to make some major changes here on our one acre homestead. If your place is already exactly what it should be, then you might want to skip reading this post. Otherwise, perhaps you’ll find a bit of inspiration here.

The Problem:

  • The garden was not set up for efficiently maintaining it. As the years start adding up for me, making it easy to maintain becomes more important.
  • The garden irrigation system had underground pipes through the garden area, and that’s a really bad idea when using a powerful roto-tiller. Running over a pipe creates quite an interesting fountain in the garden.
  • The trees that provided some shade were old water oaks. In this part of the country, they are really more like giant weeds. They don’t produce anything and they tend to rot from the inside out (just as nations and cultures do), and it goes unnoticed until a storm comes along and blows it over – sometimes taking other things with it.
  • The bee hives that I set in the garden were OK until the bees got in a cranky mood at the same time that I needed to work in the garden. Keeping bees means you’re going to get stung once in a while, but you never really get used to it no matter what anyone says.

 

The Solution:

  • The patchwork garden design became a single rectangular block. The duck pen, the bee hives, the bananas, and the pineapple patch – gone. The duck pen was moved back out of the garden area, the pineapple plants were transplanted to a single row along the perimeter fence, the banana plants cut down and dug up, and the bee hives were moved away from the garden.
  • The irrigation system now consists of two rows of overlapping sprinklers along the sides such that every part of the garden is covered by at least two sprinklers. All the irrigation pipe and one electrical conduit were removed from the garden area.
  • All of the oaks were removed. It wasn’t cheap, but it takes heavy equipment and it needed to be done. With the yard now opened up, I planted peaches, apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, figs, avocado, and plums. I would rather spend my time here watching the young fruit trees grow up than watching the old water oaks rot and die. At this stage of life, watching the young grow up is one of life’s greatest joys. Think grandchildren.
  • The bee hives were moved to the side of the house. It is an area that is otherwise unused, and there are no doors on that end of the house. The bees are happy and so are we. I also reduced the number of hives from ten down to three – plenty enough for pollination and some honey.

 

Future posts will detail things like planting the fruit trees, the bee hives, etc. For now, I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

 

The Water Oaks come out


The buried pipe comes out


Banana plants are next to be removed


Stakes mark where a row of fruit trees will be planted


Fruit trees being planted

Grow What You DON’T Eat

Cotton from the garden

Fruits and vegetables are what most folks think of when they think of gardening. There are, however, other things that are good to grow, but are not for the dinner table. We’ll go into each of these in more detail in future posts, but I wanted to get you thinking about what non-food plants you might want to try growing.

  • Winter Rye – Used to add organic matter to the soil. It also helps control the nematode population, protects the top surface layer of soil, shades out weeds. I had my garden planted in this over the past Winter. It was used as a calibration crop to compare different areas of the garden and to add organic matter to the soil when it was tilled under in the Spring.
  • Cotton – Mainly just a fun crop for most of us. On the other hand, it is a vital component in society and open-pollinated seed stock must be preserved. Each year, I grow a few cotton plants just to keep a supply of seeds and to show visitors where their clothing comes from. The variety I grow – Red Foliated White – is a beautiful plant. The cotton yield from this open-pollinated variety is nowhere near as high as what commercially-grown cotton yields, but I’m not interested in growing commercial hybrids.
  • Luffa Gourd – Sold in stores as Luffa Sponges, they are great for scrubbing in the shower. They also make a great utility scrubber. The very young fruit and flowers can be eaten, but I’ve never tried eating it. They produce numerous beautiful yellow flowers, so we have them planted along the front fence this year.
  • Velvet Bean – This vine was a very commonly grown plant along with corn in the days before cheap fertilizer. It fixes Nitrogen in the soil, supports tall plants in high winds, and shades out weeds with its kudzu-like growth pattern. An interesting side note is its use as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Gourds – Used to make bird houses, water dippers, crafts, and other items.
  • Moringa – This one is a sort-of-food plant (actually a tree). High in vitamins and minerals, the leaves are dried, ground into a powder, then used as a food supplement. This is a very fast growing tree and is often kept pruned to bush size to make harvesting easier.
  • Marigolds – In addition to it’s beautiful flowers, it repels insects when planted among other plants.

What have you grown that isn’t for the dinner table?

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Weeds, Immigration, and Culture


Several years ago, in an effort to improve the quality of the soil in my garden, I bought a truckload of topsoil. It was carefully spread, then tilled and worked into the soil. The original soil and the new topsoil were mixed until they became as one. At first, it was great. The soil was darker and richer looking than the native sandy soil, and the plants that I grew there were bigger and stronger. Then came the weeds.

Hidden in among that rich-looking soil that I brought in to mix with the native soil were weed seeds. Specifically, nut-grass nodules. Here we are, years later, and I am still battling the nut-grass. It spreads its roots deep below the surface, and it stores nutrition in a large nodule deep down in the soil. Just cutting them off at the surface has no lasting effect – the weed springs right back in just a couple of days. Nut-grass must be dug out by the roots, one weed at a time. The nodule must be removed. The root runners must be removed. Everything about the weed must be removed, or it will continue to spread, sap the strength of the plants that are intended to grow there, and eventually they will take over completely.

Removing the weeds and their roots is not a painless process. It disturbs the roots of the garden plants, and it is slow and tedious work. There is no alternative if the garden is to be saved. It must be done.

Culture is a very precious thing, and it must be cared for and defended. A culture – just like agriculture – requires work to maintain. There are no shortcuts. Bringing in, or allowing in, foreign elements into a native culture brings with it serious risks. While on the surface, there may appear to be benefits to mixing cultures, the hidden costs will quickly show up. Like an invasive species in nature that finds no natural enemies, it takes over and the original culture disappears. Forever.

From Yard To Garden

New garden area with cow manure added, and part of the peat moss added. Note the barren soil in the foreground – even weeds have a hard time growing here.

As much as I expanded my garden over the past several months, I still ran out of room. The solution? Turn an unused part of the backyard into garden. The problem is that this unused part of the yard is so infertile that even weeds have a hard time growing there. That makes this more of an experiment than just a routine garden project. Here’s what I’ve done:

  1. Used the BCS Two-wheel Tractor with tiller attachment to rototill the area. I went over it twice in both directions. I raked and picked up the assorted roots and weeds (and a beautiful piece of heavy green glass from some long-ago bottle).
  2. Watered it very heavily. In addition to adding much-needed moisture, this greatly improves the ability to work the soil.
  3. The next day, I added cow manure and peat moss. It was mixed in using a Mantis tiller with the tines reversed so that it just mixes things up without digging deeply.
  4. More watering, with the ducks “helping”.
  5. Marked out the rows and planted Seminole Pumpkin seeds.

 

Ducks just can’t pass up the opportunity to play in the water.

I had planted some Seminole Pumpkin seeds in the main garden area, but decided I’d rather put more okra in. Seminole Pumpkin can take up a huge amount of space as it spreads out. It won’t hurt if it spreads out in this new garden area, but it would have shaded out other plants in the main garden area.

As I said, this is really an experiment to see what it takes to turn a small (11′ x 19′) patch of barren ground into a fertile garden. We’ll take another look at it later in the year. In the mean time, the main garden is starting to have green where there was once only dirt.

A lesson to be learned here is that if I can turn this piece of barren sand into a productive garden, then anyone can find a place to start one.

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Storm Cleanup – It’s Who We Are

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The winds from Hurricane Matthew had not yet faded away when debris had been collected into neat piles waiting to be hauled away or burned. I was struck by the contrast between Agrarian and Urban in how this sort of thing is handled. It also provides a good illustration of two very different cultures in America. As Southern Agrarians, it is good to remind ourselves of that difference.

The Leftists like to say, “That’s not who we are” when criticizing ideas that don’t agree with their globalist fantasies. Well, it’s time to ask who the “we” is that they are talking about.

We’ll use the terms “Agrarian” and “Urban” here, but “Nationalist” and “Globalist” would also work, as would “Alt-Right” and “Leftist” or “Reactionary” and “Egalitarian”.

Across the dirt road from my house is a wooded area. I, and others living on this side of the road, keep the county right-of-way on the other side of the road clean and mowed. We do not own that land, and we have no formal obligation to maintain that land, but we do. Just as land must be constantly maintained, so too must a civilization. If the brush and debris is not quickly cleared, then it cannot be mowed. If it cannot be mowed, then weeds and brush and scrub trees will begin to take root and grow. Before long, it can no longer be easily mowed, but requires serious work to reclaim the land. So it is with a civilization. The Western European culture that built our civilization has become fat, lazy, and tolerant. We have not maintained the cultural land, and the debris that has accumulated provides shelter for the weeds and scrub that would take over and destroy us. The time for routine maintenance has passed. To reclaim our civilization, we are now left with the hard work of uprooting and chopping and clearing to restore the land – all because we didn’t keep the land clean enough through routine maintenance.

Urban culture destroys – Agrarian culture builds and maintains. Witness the Black Lives Matter crowd – their standard reaction to any perceived slight is to destroy their own neighborhoods and stores. The Agrarian reaction is very different. Those piles of debris from the storm were cut up, picked up, raked, and stacked by people who understand the necessity of taking initiative and responsibility. No one told them to clean up not only their own property, but also the road and the empty lots and fields beside them. I saw this on dirt roads beside cow pastures; I saw this in suburban developments; I saw this in a mobile home park with old but clean single-wide trailers.

It’s who we are, and we are very different from what the Left means by “we”.

 


 

(Edited to add)
It occurred to me that some folks would look at that little pile of trash and think, “That’s not much of a hurricane.” I assure you that is just there as an illustration. Much of what is awaiting disposal is far bigger than that and requires a lot more than a rake and pitchfork to move. These two photos were taken in front of our little post office (you can see it in the background of the second photo). I was driving home and stopped while our county Sheriff, dressed in a sweat-soaked T-shirt and blue jeans, used a John Deere tractor with a front-end loader to push those big logs into a pile. No photo-op for this elected official, just getting the job done (his house is across the street from the post office).

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Our Precarious Agriculture System

A lush crop of corn being grown for silage.

A lush crop of corn being grown for silage.


Last month, our family held its sixty-first annual family reunion. It’s a chance to talk with a number of my cousins who have been farmers in that area all their lives. When I remarked about how lush and beautiful the corn looked, I learned a lot about just how precarious our food supply is. It is almost entirely dependent on vast quantities of fertilizer and diesel fuel to work the land and to irrigate it.

The situation varies, of course, depending on the type of soil found in different parts of the country. The ideal combination of local climate and fertile, well-drained soil is really quite rare. The reason that the world’s farmers are able to feed a huge and rapidly growing population is the enormous input per acre of fuel, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. Much of today’s farmland is not a whole lot more than a growing medium to which water and nutrients are added – similar to hydroponics.

I will also point out here that we haven’t even touched on the complex system of transporting and delivering that food from the farm to your table. That is even more fragile than the agriculture system, with its near-total dependency on a functioning financial system, available credit, just-in-time ordering system, trucking system, and a coordinating system totally dependent upon the Internet.

There are plenty of exceptions, of course, but the fact remains that without the continuous flow of cheap diesel fuel, irrigation water, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides, the food available to the consumer would be a tiny fraction of what is needed. Proponents of organic farming point to that as the solution; however, there simply isn’t enough organic matter available nor is there a high enough yield for organic farming to even approach the quantity of food needed. (I’m a big fan of organic gardening, but the issue here is one of scale rather than method.)

If you’re looking for a solution to the overall problem, I’m afraid that there is none. Mankind has grown completely dependent on highly mechanized, high-input farming to feed the population. There is simply no getting around that – as a wide scale issue, anyway. On an individual scale, it is a different story. Growing and producing a portion of our own food for our own family is something that we can all do. Very few will be able to produce more than a token amount of their food to begin with, but it is a learning process. When the day comes that our complex food system no longer functions, make sure that you have the skills and the tools to feed your family.

Irrigation, powered by diesel fuel, keeping that corn growing.

Irrigation, powered by diesel fuel, keeping that corn growing.

Food Security and Social Unrest

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In a report published yesterday (06/26/2016), a FEMA contractor reported on a simulation called “Food Chain Reaction”. The scenario was to simulate a food crisis brought about by “food price and supply swings amidst burgeoning population growth, rapid urbanization, severe weather events, and social unrest.” You may want to read the full article yourself, but that’s not really our concern here.

As Southern Agrarians, our goal is to isolate and insulate ourselves from the chaos and anarchy of a world in collapse. Growing a portion of our own food – even if it is only a small portion – gives us a base from which to ramp up our food production to the point of being relatively self sufficient. Right now, I have a rather small part of our one acre being used to produce food. Every year brings new lessons in how to be more productive: what grows well and what doesn’t, learning the best time to plant, the best plant spacing for the soil in my garden, and a hundred other things to learn.

That small garden can be easily expanded by turning lawn into garden in order to multiply the amount of food being produced. Having the tools to do that is a key part of it. I recently purchased a two-wheeled walk-behind tractor made by BCS. It is an Italian company that owns Ferrari (Ferrari used to make tractors before they focused on high-end sports cars). With the roto-tiller attachment, I can quickly turn new ground into ready-to-plant garden area. I also have several high quality hoes that allow me to efficiently maintain the garden.

There is so much more involved in becoming more self-sufficient. How do you provide water for your family, your garden, and your livestock? How do you preserve what you grow for the rest of the year when the garden is not producing? How do you feed your chickens or ducks or other livestock? Those are the kinds of questions that we try to answer here in addition to the cultural and social aspects of Southern Agrarianism.

Being self-sufficient is a very comfortable feeling in these unstable times. Make sure that you can provide for your family, no matter what the future holds.

What’s In The Garden Now? June 1, 2016

Eggplant in the foreground and tomatoes in the background.

Eggplant in the foreground and tomatoes in the background.


I’m always interested in hearing what others are growing in their gardens, so this post is about what is in my garden now. But first, a note about what my priorities are and how I choose what to grow:

  • Sustainability – Everything that I plant in my garden is open pollinated. Savings seeds is just as important to me as the vegetables that go on the table. Hybrids are not even considered when picking varieties.
  • Resilience – Rather than start with “What do I like?” and then try to make it grow here, my strategy is to ask “What will dependably grow here?” and then find ways to prepare it so that I enjoy it. (See the section on Squash below for any example).
  • Organic – I avoid the use of any chemical pesticides or herbicides. I’m not fanatical about it, but it’s been many years since I used any chemical pesticides on the garden. When needed, I use BT and Neem Oil, which are both organic pesticides that are safe to apply immediately before picking and eating.

Eggplant – This is a hot-weather favorite that keeps on producing through all but the very hottest summer days. In the past, I have always gone with Black Beauty, but this year I am growing the Florida High Bush variety. My hope is that, based on the description I read, the plants will be stronger and less likely to be blown over in a wind, yet still have the good taste and texture of the Black Beauty. This variety was developed in the 1940’s for commercial fields, and the objective was to keep the fruit up off the ground. So far, so good.

Tomato – What’s a garden without tomatoes? Several years ago, I did some fairly extensive testing for taste, quantity, and general quality. I grew several varieties and kept careful records. I counted the yield from each individual plant, and I wrote a number on the individual fruits and gave them to friends and relatives and asked them to rate them by various criteria. The overall winner was Homestead 24. That has become my standard tomato variety and I see no reason to change. There will be some other varieties that may taste slightly better or have other desirable qualities, but – all things considered – the Homestead 24 beats them all.

Bell Peppers – I’m trying a new variety this year: Chinese Giant. As the name implies, these are a very large fruited pepper. I have read that if thinned (something I haven’t tried yet), they can reach 5″ – 6″ in length and width. My previous variety was California Wonder; they were good, but I wanted to try something new.

Okra – Another great hot-weather producer. This year is a test of a strain of Clemson Spineless called “Heavy Hitter”. In the past, I always went with regular Clemson Spineless, but when I read about Heavy Hitter, I had to give it a try. Heavy Hitter has a different branching pattern which results in more branches – and thus more fruit – from each plant. It was developed by Mr. Ron Cook in Oklahoma. If it works as I think it will, I’ll be doing whatever I can to help promote this strain of okra. This was planted quite late since I wanted to put it in some new ground that had been lawn up until a few months ago.

Squash – I suppose this one doesn’t really belong here since I turned the entire crop under two days ago. In previous years, I decided “No more squash” because they were always ruined by worms boring holes and ruining the fruit. Stubbornly, I wanted to give it one more try. The first few were great, but then the worms came (I avoid the use of pesticides wherever possible). Not wanting to feed the worms, I used my BCS tractor with the roto-tiller attachment to turn that part of the garden into dirt. Next year, I’ll go back to planting Seminole Pumpkin and use it as a squash.

Cotton – I like planting cotton every once in a while just to have it. This year, I planted Red Foliated White Cotton that I got from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. The stem parts of the plants are red – an interesting color in the garden – and it produces a short staple white cotton. What do I do with it? Not much. It is just interesting to grow, and there are plenty of folks who have never seen cotton growing.

So – what do you have in your garden now?

Cotton blossom, Red Foliated White Cotton.

Cotton blossom, Red Foliated White Cotton.

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