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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – Gardens are springing up in Childress, and newbies to gardening are turning to Bob Halencak for advice.
“A lot of people are coming and asking for advice,” Halencak said. “They are first timers because of COVID-19.”
They are coming to Halencak, because he’s been gardening since he was six years old.
“My mom was a big gardener,” he said. “Everything I know is from my mother.”
When he and his wife Debra moved to Childress in 1970, he bought seven lots for gardening. On them, he grows 25 vegetables, including corn, okra, cucumbers, butter beans, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peppers, green beans, spinach, squash, tomatoes, onions and cabbage.
He also has grapes, peanuts, apricots, apples and pecans. Altogether, he has 37 trees.
“I enjoy it,” Halencak said. “It’s my hobby. It’s fun.”
His hobby helps others in Childress. From his garden, he gives vegetables to 35 families and Meals on Wheels.
Halencak’s philosophy is to not use any herbicides and poisons. His favorite vegetables to grow are corn and tomatoes, but he eats them all.
“When my wife cooks, we have at least five vegetables,” Halencak said. What they don’t eat, they can and freeze.
In addition to vegetables, fruits and nuts, hollyhocks, cannas, petunias and lantana surround his home. His secret? Hoeing and pulverizing the ground.
For those reading this story and wanting to start a garden, Halencak said now is not the time.
“It’s too late,” he said. “It takes too much water. I start in February. It’s too late now.”
But it’s not too late to get seeds from the Childress County Extension Office. Agent Dawn Dockter still has more than 500 free seed packets that were donated by Tractor Supply Manager Randy Wadley. She said they can be planted next year. Contact the AgriLife Extension office at 940-937-2351 to get them.