News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2006


An organic garden with Sevin

Regina wanted to know why I didn't use Sevin dust on the broccoli growing in the garden.

I said that we had a modified organic garden and that excluded using pesticides to shoo away the bugs and worms.

Convincing her that eating organically grown broccoli might also mean eating a worm or two wasn't easy. In fact, I didn't convince her.

Last week after an unfortunate incident with the broccoli, she said she was not eating any more. More succinctly, she called it "disgusting." She had good cause to be riled and not amenable to my protestations that the little worms are hard to see.

Her response: "Don't bring any more in the house."

She said the same thing about 30 years ago when we shared a garden with our neighbors in Talladega. We made a bumper crop of broccoli one year and she decided to freeze some. But blanching the broccoli caused the interlopers to reveal themselves in great numbers.

Her attempt to be Heloise ended in the garbage can.

My Blount County high school classmate Jerome Hollingsworth always advises to forget spring broccoli.

I'm convinced now. It's the worms, stupid.

But there's still something I'd like to know about broccoli:

How did those green worms find my two crosstie long and one crosstie wide garden the only year I decided to grow broccoli? Did I unwittingly buy their larvae along with the plants back in the spring?

"I thought that farming organically meant using good bugs to chase away the bad ones," Regina said, in retracing my erring ways.

"You're right," I said, "but I didn't know where to buy the good attack bugs, wasps and spiders that eat the bad ones."

"Spiders?" she asked, and put in a plug for just using Sevin. But then, she grew up thinking DDT was OK.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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