This month’s featured gardeners are Lloyd and Marie Krenek. Lloyd and Marie are outstanding gardeners that have been cultivating vegetables, ornamentals and fruit and nut trees on their Brazoria property for the last 51 years. Lloyd grows it and Marie cans it! They love their country life and are proud that they have been able to provide for their family, and others “through the work of their hands and the fruit of their lands”. Lloyd and Marie have been readers of this magazine since the 1989 January/ February and his tip for attracting bees to his garden was recently featured in the May/June 2019 issue of the magazine.
Lloyd and Marie Krenek
Wild Peach Village, Brazoria, Texas
TOTAL YEARS AT THIS LOCATION:
FAVORITE THING TO GROW:
TOUGHEST THING TO GROW:
SOIL PREP TIP:
For our flat-land area it is important for us to prepare soil at least several weeks in advance of each planting season and make deep soil rows, except for the raised bed area. Rows will dry much quicker in rainy weather. That way, we can go ahead and hand sow or set in transplants, even if the middles are still wet. (Unless too boggy to walk.)
Worms. Worms, such as corn ear worms and cabbage loopers. If serious breakout, we use the natural worm control, Bacillus thuringiensis (BT).
BEST GARDENING ADVICE:
Allow plenty of space between plants for our humid weather. Especially plants like tomatoes, squash and cucumbers to allow air circulation, ease of picking and control disease spread. Keep garden records.
BEST BUG CONTROL TIP:
Don’t delay! At first sign of bad insects, control them.
DO YOU PRESERVE HARVEST?
Yes. We freeze, dry and can vegetables, fruit and several herbs.
DO YOU USE FLORAL HARVESTS AROUND YOUR HOME?
Yes. Right now, a bouquet of flowering cilantro sits on the dining room table. A few borage blossoms lay in a tiny tea cup saucer. (But only a few. Most are left for the bees.). Baskets of double-cascade petunias hang from porch hooks.
FUNNY GARDEN STORY: “BET YOU CAN’T GUESS”
I have to tell you this story all by myself because Lloyd would rather be in the garden any day than write.
Each fall when the pecan leaves have fallen, dried, and turned a dark brown, we rake them into piles, then gather and pack them down into those giant midnight black yard-leaf bags. The 30 or so bags are then stacked in the barn until the following late August or September, when they are taken to the garden for soil nourishment.
One evening in August, years ago, we sat all the bagged leaves out in the garden, spacing them somewhat equally. Our plan was, come morning, we would scatter the leaves over the entire garden area. Then, Lloyd would use the garden tiller to crumble the leaves, working them into the soil. But wouldn’t you know— the arrival of an overnight unexpected down-pour drenched the garden. It
was also the usual time for the once-a-week disposal service truck to collect our household waste. As the truck turned the corner to come down our road, I could hear the grinding and squeaking of brakes as it came to a halt, stopping right in front of our garden instead of stopping near our driveway. A thought struck me to just go outside and watch. Two of the truck attendants were standing on the back of the truck, as usual. But this time they kept very still— just looking at the bags sitting in our garden. After what seemed like a good five minutes, I saw the driver’s hand jerk up into the air, motioning to the men at the rear. One man yelled to the other: “WE CAN’T DO IT. MOVING ON!” Gradually, the truck shifted into gear, stopping briefly to collect our single bag of waste sitting next to the drive entrance. To this day, we wonder what kind of stories was told on us gardeners. We can only guess.