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Alabama gardener gives gift of greens

  • Subject: [cg] Alabama gardener gives gift of greens
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 13:04:17 -0800 (PST)

Troy, Alabama, The Messenger

Robert Boyd's field of holiday greens

By Jaine Treadwell

Robert Boyd has a big heart and it shows.

The garden that he plants is sowed with care and
harvested with labors of the love.

A wide grin cracks Boyd's face when visitors to the
garden expressed surprise at and admiration for the
collards that he grows.

If any backyard gardener grows as many collards or
collards of greater size, surely it's not around these
parts.

"No secret to it, just a good bit of work," Boyd said.
"I wanted to grow something that other people would
like and I just thought I'd stick with collards. Most
people that I know like collards. They're kind of easy
to grow and easy to pick. They're easier to wash than
turnips and just as good to eat. I think they're
better. Some people don't know the difference between
turnips and collards unless the turnips have the roots
in them. To me, the difference is that collards are
better."

Boyd planted his collard garden this year with the
intention of supplying the greens for the Thanksgiving
dinner that Cornelius Griffin, a member of the NFL's
Washington Redskins, sponsors each year for the sick,
shut-ins and elderly in his hometown of Brundidge.

Members of the Lily White Church of the Living God and
friends of the Griffin family prepare the food for the
dinner and some of them want to contribute dishes to
the dinner.

"This year, Robert told me that he wanted to supply
all the greens for the Thanksgiving dinner," said
Martha Griffin, who coordinates the dinner for her
son. "We really appreciated him doing it. Everybody
really enjoyed them. We cooked a lot of greens and
they were all eaten."

Other than watching things grow, Boyd said the best
thing about gardening is being able to share the
fruits of the harvest with others.

"Especially around the holidays," he said. "You can't
have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner without greens.
It just wouldn't be right. I've planted enough
collards that whoever doesn't have them can come and
get some. That's the only reason I plant so many. Me
and my family couldn't ever eat all the collards out
here."

Boyd has about 300 collard plants on a little more
than a half acre in his backyard in the Tarentum
community.

He plants other vegetables - turnips, peppers,
tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Collards are his
specialty but, if he had another year like this one in
the potato patch, he might have a second specialty.

"I like sweet potatoes," he said. "They can be cooked
in different ways and every way is good. But, there's
just something about collards. You can almost see them
growing. I've probably got a ton of them out here and
before the winter's gone, they'll all be gone because
what I can't sell, I give away."

Boyd couldn't decide whether it's better to give away
the collards or get a little pocket change from them.
So, he just smiled and said, "The best thing is eatin' them."


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