Sharing fruits of labor

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This is the first time in seven years Sterling Moore has planted a garden, he said. But he’s making up for it with three good-sized ones.

“We’ve picked between 40 and 50 baskets of peas,” said the Chelsea gardener.

That’s rounded-up full market baskets. And he’s not through yet.

Just and what are the Moores doing with so many peas when theirs is only a two-person household?

Moore said his wife Jo has put up a lot of them, and they have given a lot to family and friends.

One pea patch has almost stopped producing now, but the later one has just started.

“This one didn’t grow and start producing as fast as the first one,” he said, indicating the large patch of thick, green pea vines hanging full of peas in all stages of growth. “That’s probably because of the cooler weather we’ve been having.”

In an attempt to keep out deer, Moore drove up stakes around the gardens, tied together strips of cloth and stretched these around the stakes like a one-string fence.

Then he tied plastic grocery bags at intervals around the “fence” where a slight movement of wind or animal would stir them and spook anything tempted to cross it.

So far, it seems to be working.

Moore has not been bothered with deer eating his vegetables. He’s not had trouble with crows, either, as some gardeners in the community have. But other birds have been pecking holes in some of his tomatoes.

Many of the tomatoes, too, are cracking by the time they get ripe.

“My daddy used to call that ‘new growth,’” he said. “I think it’s probably caused by a lot of rain.”

When I asked if family members help with the garden, he laughed. “They help eat it,” Moore said.

But he doesn’t mind their not helping, he said. They are all busy, while he’s retired.

Besides simply enjoying the gardening, Moore likes having people enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Columnist Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at