Home greens are best

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 24, 2008

NATCHEZ — About two years ago Velma Washington decided to get back to her roots — and grow some greens.

Washington’s parents were farmers in the county and her brothers still make their livings tilling the soil.

So Washington decided she would start growing her garden, albeit a small one.

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“I planted the seeds right there,” she said. “And they just popped up.”

In the small plot in Washington’s front yard on Hampton Court — where the Dart fell — the greens, some close to two feet tall, have sprouted tall and straight.

Their stalks bear the marks where the broad leaves have been taken and then cooked.

Washington said she originally thought to plant her own greens because the store-bought greens don’t taste as good as the ones she could get from her farming family.

“You can definitely tell the difference,” she said. “You can taste the fertilizer (on store-bought greens.)”

Washington’s said the fertilizer used on commercial greens often make her ill.

“This is much better,” she said pointing to her patch.

Washington uses no fertilizers; instead she bolsters her growing plot with the rich soil that surrounds a decomposing tree in a neighbors yard.

While Washington’s latest growing expedition is the first to yield food she has actually been gardening for some time.

“I’ve been planting flowers for years,” she said. “They make the yard beautiful.”

But now Washington is slowly turning her gardening concentration toward edible vegetation.

“Next year I’m planting turnips right there,” she said pointing to a small bare patch in the garden.

Surprisingly Washington has generated a high yield garden in a very small patch in the yard.

In a space about five feet by five feet, Washington has an assortment of flowers, greens and space for turnips.

While Washington said she has enjoyed gardening for years now she gets to enjoy a new aspect from her labors — eating.

Washington said the best greens are always cooked with good salt-meat.

And like the fertilizer Washington can’t tolerate, utensils also dampen the flavor of well-cooked greens she said.

“You have to use your fingers,” she said. “They don’t taste right with a fork.”