Have you heard that song?  “Now the race is on and here comes pride in the back stretch.”  I know some of you have never heard this song, but this song was made popular by George Jones.  Later, it was recorded by Sawyer Brown.

Now, I know you want to know what this little musical history class has to do with Grow Appalachia.  Well, my mom and I have always had a race to see who could plant things in the garden first.  The greatest race though was to see who would pick the first mess of beans.  Well, my mom is now 86, her gardening has been pared way back.  Maybe, she will only grow a container garden on her porch.

The Race Begins

This year, I thought the race would not be on.  Then, on Monday, Russell Sparks, retired Magoffin County Extension agent posted a picture of the onions he planted in flower pots.  Russell stated in a Facebook post that his mom always planted onion sets in her flower pots, before the pots were ready for flowers.  I thought, “What a great idea!”  Then, I thought, “Man, I can’t believe Russell has onions out.”  In my mind, “The Race is On!”

Now, Russell had unbeknownst to him, thrown down the flag to begin the race.  So, knowing I was already behind, on Tuesday, I made my way to the local hardware store.  Onion sets, lettuce and beets seed were on my list.  In the past, I have struggled to grow beets.  One of my favorites of the summer is pickled beets.  I have never been able to grow them.  This year, I have a new plan.  I will grow them in a raised bed.

The Race Course Constructed

The race starts in flower pots and buckets.  As soon as I returned home from the hardware store, I planted my lettuce seed and onion sets.  Now, we are on the course.  Russell doesn’t know that he started the race.  As a matter of fact, Russell is not a contestant in the race.

The Race Begins

Since the race has begun, the race is against myself.  How will I know if I won the race.  One way I will know is if I can grow beets.  As I stated earlier, I have never been able to grow beets.  I thought I had the answer last year.  My beets were doing well, except Peter Cottontail decided he would enjoy the beets before I could harvest them.  For this reason, I decided to grow my beets in a raised garden, and install a fence.  I had a raised bed which I no longer used, so I thought I would give it a try.

The Race Course Filled

What soil would I use to fill this raised bed?  I’ve had this thought that I would go to the wooded area on my property and dig topsoil to fill my bed.  Yesterday, I did just that.  My wife suggested that I use some left over vermiculite and perlite in the soil.  First, I dug about  eight wheelbarrow loads of topsoil from the woods, then added the leftover vermiculite and perlite.  I planted the beet seed.  Now, I need to buy the fence.

How Will This Race End?

The race for the green onions will end well.  Now, about the beets, your guess is good as mine.  Maybe, in a few weeks I will have an update.  But for now, I will just rely on the sense of accomplishment of attempting something new.