Plantersville couple battle health problems, heat, varmints to grow their own vegetables

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

PLANTERSVILLE – Patsy and Tommy Jackson have both had health problems and the raccoons have decimated their corn and the heat has been relentless – but the Plantersville couple are determined to have a vegetable garden.
The Jacksons have almost four acres on family land in Plantersville, and in a secluded spot beside their house they grow tomatoes, eggplant, peas, corn, okra, peppers, cucumbers, beets and rattlesnake beans.
“It’s sad to work so hard on all this and then have it not make,” said Patsy Jackson, 75. “Tommy only planted one row of corn, but the coons ate it up. We didn’t get a single ear for ourselves. One time I fixed me a scarecrow and put it out here. Guess I’ll have to do that again.”
Both of the Jacksons are originally from Lee County, although they spent a number of years living in the Memphis area, where Tommy was a firefighter. They moved back home to Plantersville in 2004.
Almost immediately, Tommy insisted on planting a garden, Patsy said. Tommy declined to be interviewed for this story.
“He plants a garden every year. He bought a small tiller and works it. But all of a sudden, I’ve found I enjoy it, too,” she said.
‘Good as gold’
One day earlier this week, Patsy made her way down an almost hidden path to reach the garden, where she wanted to pick some tomatoes.
“I want you to look a here, look at the size of that tomato,” she said as she cradled a Better Boy tomato as big as her hand. “Who in the world would believe we’d have tomatoes this big in this heat?”
Patsy pointed out four different kinds of tomatoes growing – Big Boys, Better Boys, Celebrity and romas – and checked on the okra and cucumbers.
Dark purple eggplants hung heavy from plants, ready to be picked.
“No, not yet,” she said. “I want them to get a little bit bigger before I take those to the house.”
When they lived in Tennessee, Tommy, 75, had triple bypass surgery, plus he’s had three back surgeries. Patsy has recently been diagnosed with diabetes.
“I worry about him out here,” she said. “It’ll be hot and I’ll hear that tiller just a going. I’ll tell him it’s too much, but he says he’s fine. He’ll probably plant some mustard and turnips for the fall. Honey, he loves it. He’s a trooper. He’s good as gold.”

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