Elbow grease, know how help family turn backyard into ‘Garden Central’

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 4, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – With a little fertilizer, water and elbow grease – and four green thumbs and lifetime of know-how between them – Dick and Elner Terry have turned their backyard into Garden Central.

Several lush, green rows of beans, peas, tomatoes, onions and garlic can be found in the garden that takes up the back and side edges of the small backyard.

Fig, pear and fledging walnut trees, along with several blueberry and mayhaw plants, take up much of the rest of the yard.

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There are a few rose bushes and other flowers, but for the most part, &uot;we don’t plant anything we can’t eat,&uot; Dick Terry said.

Of course, they cannot eat it all, so what they don’t immediately cook, can or freeze they give to friends or to the Concordia Council on Aging’s Vidalia lunch site.

The Terrys have planted the garden for 35 of the 36 years they have lived at their house on Myrtle Street.

&uot;I just couldn’t get the country out of me,&uot; Dick Terry said, laughing.

Since he has vision problems that make it difficult to pick the produce, Dick Terry gets down on his hands and knees to plant the garden, while his wife picks the harvest and hauls it to the house in gallon pails.

They have already harvested corn this year, and on Saturday morning they were busy collecting different varieties of beans from their garden.

Next, Dick Terry will take some of his walnut trees to plant at their property in Haynesville, Elner Terry’s hometown.

When asked for their secret to a beautiful garden, the Terrys just shrug, promising that all they use is 13-13-13 fertilizer, plus a little bit of the &uot;barnyard variety&uot; when they can get it.

They also acknowledge that this year has resulted in better-than-usual gardens for just about everybody.

&uot;Who knows what we could do,&uot; Dick Terry said, &uot;if we had room for a mule.&uot;

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map and finds a story where it lands.