Husband shares baba’s green thumb

Pam Droog Jones

By Pam Droog Jones

I love how hot summer nights and the sounds of locusts always transport me to the backyard of my grandparents’ tiny house on Corbett Avenue in University City in the late 1950s. The small yard was fragrant with my Baba Freida’s irises and petunias and geraniums. She also tried every year to grow horseradish which my Zada Mike mowed down without fail.

I guess I took after Zada more than Baba because I never had much of a green thumb. My husband, Jerry, however, is a real live Master Gardener. He built several raised beds here since the soil is rocky and useless. We had a productive garden for a while, then not so much, due to the weather and other circumstances.

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A couple of years ago it finally occurred to me if I helped, maybe we could actually have a real garden again. So Jerry and I spent a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend weeding and hauling dirt and composting and planting. After two full days of intensive labor I was totally worn out but felt as happy as I could remember. The hard work paid off in tomatoes, peppers, a half dozen asparagus spears, a single tiny eggplant and a wild tangle of herbs.

This year, thanks to the unusually favorable spring weather, Jerry planted our garden early. To date we have harvested lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, jalapenos, onions, green beans, tomatoes and herbs. Still to come–corn, wax beans, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, sunflowers and many, many more tomatoes which Jerry will turn into his famed smoked tomato salsa.

Because of the intense heat we’ve had to run the sprinkler a lot and our water bill has tripled. But it’s worth it to avoid going to the Jefferson City Farmers Market located on the K-Mart parking lot, right along Missouri Boulevard, Jefferson City’s busy main drag. Yes, it is as unromantic as it sounds.