Publisher Brian Blansett writes about his challenges with gardening this year.

I had a lousy garden this spring.

The late freezes got my potatoes twice and I never did find any of my favorite blue potatoes to plant.

The sorry ducks didn’t eat the potato bugs I had hired them to control, so when it came time to dig, I got more than I had planted but not by much.

I got a few good salads and the onions did well, but that was about it. When I had time to plant or work in the garden, it was too wet. When the soil was right, I was too busy.

Sad to say, expectations and crab grass were about the only things I raised that were worth mentioning.

For some reason, and I honestly don’t know why, this reminds of my uncle telling me about a farmer who bought a pen of hogs, kept them for three months and then sold them for what they cost him.

“You mean you didn’t make anything?” asked his neighbor.

“Well, no, but I had free use of the hog for 90 days,” he said.

Anyway. Along about July 1, I watered the garden nice and deep and planted a late summer/fall garden.

My, what a difference.

I am not exaggerating when I say the squash exploded out of the ground. I was picking yellow crooked neck squash in less than 40 days and zucchini shortly thereafter I brought the turkeys in from the bullpen to relieve the ducks and they kept the grasshoppers under control. Now the crowder peas, purplehulls and butterbeans are starting to make and even the tomatoes got a second wind and are starting to produce.

We’ve been eating squash a lot lately and I have probably 15 pounds that I’ve battered and frozen for frying this winter.

Dinner yesterday was crowder peas with cornbread and some Abe Lincoln tomatoes. Supper was some more tomatoes.

I’m hoping that dinner today is a baked sweet potato and fried green tomatoes.

Life is good.

- Brian Blansett is publisher of The Shawnee News-Star.