A Bumper Crop Of Letters


August 22, 1993|By MIKE KLINGAMAN

The mail piles up, from readers and weeders:

Dear Dirt,

I have always pictured you as one of trim build, firm of flesh, tanned and supple from hours of outdoor exercise and healthy exertion. Frankly, from the illustrations that accompany your column, I am shocked to see what has become of you.

I hope you take stock and set some vegetables aside instead of trying to eat them all on the spot.

I pray that Mike Lane, with his customary ebullient style, has exaggerated a bit!

Joel Hutton


You should see how I draw Mike Lane.

Dear Dirt,

Like you, I tend to see the world through my garden.

Last year, after much gnashing of teeth, my husband thought it better if he found someplace else to live. I agreed. I remember the cold, icy wind as I watched him lumber down the driveway with that last suitcase.

The whole world seemed to stand still. My mind was numb.

My first thought:

Now I'll have to buy smaller bags of manure.

If you know any single male gardeners ages 24 to 42, give them my number.

Karen Broadfoot

Reading, Pa.


My wife would be glad to give you my number.

Dear Dirt,

I grew tomato plants in my bedroom until they were 7 months old. The plants nearly touched the ceiling. However, they produced no tomatoes.

When I moved the plants into the garden, a miracle happened. They became loaded with tomatoes. When they were let loose, they went wild.

I guess they reacted like that because they were dormant for so long.

Virginia Duarte

Bridgewater, Mass.

hTC What did you expect the plants to do in the bedroom besides sleep?

Dear Dirt,

Being owned by a cat, I could only cry over your column, "Timmy, the Garden's Soul."

I, too, have held two cats tightly in my arms for one last time.

A wonderful tribute to a special cat. Thank you for the tears. Sometimes they are needed.

Pat Schuster



Timmy rests near the garden. I talk to him often.

Dear Dirt,

My companion for 17 years, Humphrey, was a boon to my gardening efforts in that he kept mice, rabbits and many insects under control. He liked to ride on my shoulders, so it wasn't too surprising when he jumped up on my back whenever I bent over to pull weeds.

Thelma F. Gaylord

Temple, Pa.


I assume Humphrey was your cat, and not your spouse.

Dear Dirt,

I, too, love the odor of hyacinth, and -- like you -- have gone down on my knees to inhale the fragrance.

The knees are getting old (82) and I cannot squat enough. The neighbors think I am balmy, but who cares? I enjoy the fragrance, even inhaling a bug now and then.

Margaret Conway


There are easier ways to reduce the insect population.

Dear Dirt,

This year I broke a bone in my foot because I made the mistake of wearing sunglasses while landscaping. I mistook my foot for the ground and stabbed it with an edger!

Irene Meaney

Avon, Mass.

Don't feel bad. I once mistook my foot for grass and ran over it with the lawn mower.

Dear Dirt,

When we got home from vacation, we discovered the local groundhogs had wiped out everything!! I didn't get a single green bean. They rolled or slept in my beets and nibbled as they went. They ate my zucchini, plus the leaves.

The bunnies ate my marigolds like they were lollipops. And some ferocious bugs ate my zinnias before they even bloomed.

I= It truly makes me wonder if I ever want to do this again.

Betty Buck

Ellicott City

My advice is: Keep the garden and forget the vacation.

Dear Dirt,

I've discovered that garden slugs like expensive beer. They won't touch the cheap stuff, but Coors suits them fine. I caught several hundred slugs that way.

Sallie Robinson



Make sure all the slugs you serve are 18 or older.

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