aroundkent Magazine Vol 13 2017

Page 54


Returning to my native Northeastern Ohio after a 5-year stint in Florida (3 hurricanes in 4 months wears a person down), I moved into a rural duplex in Rootstown. My landlord came by one day to ask if I wanted a garden since he was already out tilling for other tenants. “Uh, sure, I guess,” was my answer. Not exactly a strong commitment, but I figured, “What the heck. It’ll give me something to do.” The only garden experience I really had was recollections of my parents tending our garden, with us children mostly on weeding and poop spreading patrol. With faded childhood memories, I began in earnest, planting the newly prepared soil after a few trips to local garden shops. Purchasing seeds and familiar vegetables starts (tomatoes, peppers, onions, peas, beans, squash,

pumpkins, broccoli, and even turnips), my garden filled out in no time. That is when the “fun” began. The 500 square feet of reclaimed goldenrod and black raspberry claydominated land soon started fighting back. Weeds popped up, soil dried out, some plants grew poorly. All the weeding chores of my youth came back to bite me (literally— brambles and thistles are very, very pokey). I added fencing to keep out my newfound friends (those cold-blooded, pea-eating, predatory bunnies), which, of course, found ways of getting around, as hungry herbivores are bound to do. My first garden was a lot of work, but it also gave me the great feeling of accomplishment. Some veggies grew easily (yeah, green beans), so at least I had something to show for my efforts, besides a sore back, scratches, and less money. Four years ago, after moving to Kent and establishing a much better garden, I decided to start a vegetable gardening blog. The hardest decision to be made was its name. After a few duds (like “What Thyme is It?”), I decided to call it The Snarky Gardener. The first time I heard the term “snarky” was on the TV

volume 13 | 2017 •


Don Abbott

comedy That 70’s Show. Kitty (the mom) told her son Eric not to be snarky. I instantly looked up the definition (“crotchety, snappish, sarcastic, impertinent, irreverent”) and thought it sounded just like me. I’ve always been sarcastic (especially in my youth), and consider it to be one of my super powers. What I have found over time though is it’s not always easy to be snarky while discussing gardening. I often look over my writing and wonder “Is this snarky enough?” Nobody’s complained so far, but I’m always striving to be better. My primary reason for starting The Snarky Gardener was I wanted to keep people from making the same mistakes I made. There is plenty of gardening information in books and on the Internet, but getting location specific advice is more arduous. My most read blog post is called “Top Ten Best Vegetable Crops to Grow In Northeastern Ohio”. It’s popular because when people are just starting out, they want to know what vegetables to grow in their location