Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - November 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Gardener's Green Thumb Produces Greens
Houston County Courier - November 2008
By Sharron Randall
On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Leonard Wiley, who lives on Hwy. 7 west called the newspaper office to boast about the mustard greens he's growing in his garden in back of his house and in his wife's flowerbeds in the front yard.
Every year, Wiley and his brother Ricky Ellis, a state school employ, compete to see who has the "greenest" thumb. Ellis grows his greens in his mother's, Doris Ellis, garden on Hwy. 7 west, right down the road from his brother.
This year, both brothers grew "curly" greens for the first time, but also stuck with the wide or broad leaf mustard greens they routinely have planted for the past 8-or-9 years.
Asked what Wiley's wife, Janice Rodgers thought of the greens in her flower beds, he said, "She didn't think they would be that pretty, and she likes the idea of stepping outside the front door and picking a mess!"
The TDC employee said he uses regular fertilizer and not much of that. He said that a creek does run in the back of his and his mother's property and that could be a reason for the garden produce to do so well.
The brothers were drawn into competition when Wiley first became successful as a gardener. Even his next door neighbor, who initially didn't understand the satisfaction of seeing things grow, finally succumbed and bought himself a tiller too.
Furthermore, their hobby keeps them busy in the garden through all growing seasons. In the summer they grow and compare each other's jalepena, habanero, bell, and banana peppers, squash, okra, tomatoes, corn, and purple hull peas.
In the fall besides mustard greens, they grow cabbage and collard greens.
Wiley produces so much in his home garden that he allows folks to pick for themselves; he said, "Please ask before you pick."
Wiley wife and three children: Leonard Wiley Jr., a graduate of Crockett High School, and two daughters Miranda and Syvania who attend CHS enjoy the fruits of his labor.