Saturday, April 21, 2007

James Underwood Crockett

I emigrated to the United States in November 1978 when I was 13 years old. My father made us leave one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, Sydney Australia. A semi-tropical gardener's paradise, everything grew so lush and the Australian native plants are unlike anything in the plant world.

So from this we moved to Lenexa, Kansas -- a suburb of Kansas City. Never having seen snow, we arrived in one of the harshest winters on record. How on earth could I create a garden in this godforsaken place. One Saturday morning, my father caught a gardening show on PBS. A rather gentlemanly soul, Jim Crockett was the host of a show called The Victory Garden. From a rather humble beginning, the garden was a small lot of land next to the WGBH studios. After each week, it became clear to me that here was my savior. Under grow lights, I began with his favorite, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and went from there. I didn't have the lights close enough to the plants so my tomatoes and others were quite langey but they quickly made up for it in the garden.

Jim, an author of over 26 books, penned what has become a gardening classic, Crockett's Victory Garden. While some of the agri-chemicals recommendations are no longer relevant, the basics are still there. I don't know how I could have so quickly become a Midwest gardener with out it. You can pick up used copies on Amazon that could be of value to especially novice gardeners.

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