June 1st — that’s the date I try to plant my garden.
I always start with starter plants, regardless of what the Rim Country authorities say.
“I start everything from seed except tomatoes and peppers,” say some.
“Melons are warm weather plants, plant from seeds when it’s good and hot,” say others.
Me — I just go to the nursery and stock up — tomatoes, beans, herbs, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, squash, melons — I love it all.
The first year I moved to Rim Country, I got jazzed to start planting in March after a class by Glen McCombs at his Plant Fair Nursery and a couple of warm days.
Spring in the Rim Country comes in fits and starts. A couple of warm days set you up for a week of bitter cold, frosts and snow. Hard enough to figure out what to wear, without trying to keep your squash alive.
That first year, I put three tomato plants in pots and shuffled them from porch to dining room. Poor dears, they suffered badly from the cold and wound up permanently stunted.
From then on, I followed the locals’ advice and waited until around the first of June — or in this case Memorial Day weekend.
Others at the Community Garden, such as Mayor Evans, planted sometime in April or May. Of course Mayor Evans’ experience as a professional farmer having 2,000 acres of land under cultivation in Yuma didn’t hurt his green thumb.
So, Mayor Evans now has corn that’s boot high, bushy beans and robust tomato plants.
When Evans shows up at the garden, he always wears a dress shirt, spotless jeans, perfectly polished black boots and often a tie. Other Community Gardeners notice the fancy dress.
“Shouldn’t he dress down?” they ask.
But — he’s the mayor!
Still, he draws attention and now that he’s figured out how to keep the crows from eating his corn, his garden plot is quite the attraction.
“When I go to my plot a group is always standing around and I have to wave them away so the sun can get to my plants,” he said.
He’s also amazed at the wealth of gardening knowledge and diversity of crops we can plant in the Rim Country.
Still, his favorite thing about the Community Garden is the camaraderie and learning experiences.
Garden board member Roger Kriemeyer hopes more people would like to come down and participate in the Community Garden experience. “We still have 20 plots available,” he said. “I hope others in the community decide to try the garden.”