Earlier this season I posted a story of Jim Koski, the 74-year old gardener in Lockport, Illinois. Jim, through a method of early seed starting, salt paper wraps and soil warming, settled his plants in the ground a full month before we would ever dream of doing so.
With harvest underway, let’s take a quick peek at how Jim’s doing:
Dear heavens it looks like those plants are big enough to eat Jim alive! With nine-foot-tall beans and eight-foot-tall tomatoes, Jim is setting the bar high for gardeners across the USA. Rumor has it the peppers are the size of Buicks. A typical day’s harvest is 10 tomatoes, something I can only achieve in my dreams.
Yes, it helps to have rain, and Illinois has had its share this year. One recent storm dumped seven inches in one day on the Chicago area. I’m lucky to get seven drops at my house. And true, Jim has what we like to call soil – rich, crumbly, and home to the flora and fauna that makes roots happy. At my place, the soil is what experts describe as “adobe brick”. But what really makes the difference for Jim is fish fertilizer which, given the amount of rain, might help those plants sprout gills and swim away.
I’m impressed, and a tad jealous of the super-sized garden. I think I’ll go home and give my plants a good pep talk. Good job, Jim!