Check in just about any time of the year, and J.C. Butler has something growing in his garden.
"We're just getting tomatoes and hot peppers," Butler said. "Around the first of July, we had a nice crop of corn and beans."
And as quickly as a crop grows, he likes to give it away.
"Well, we have more than we can handle, so I give some to my neighbors," he said. "I like to share."
The 89-year-old Harlem resident has been tending to the land for quite some time.
"I grew up on a farm in Elbert County," he said. "I always helped there."
And he hasn't stopped.
"My wife and I built this house in 1967, and I started a garden here in 1968," Butler said.
Though he said his age has slowed him down some, it hasn't completely stopped him from enjoying one of his favorite activities.
"I like to keep moving," he said. "It helps to keep me young, and I feel better when I'm outside."
When the temperature cools off, Butler looks forward to preparing his fall vegetable garden and growing one of his favorites, turnips.
"I really like the purple-top turnips and the curly mustard variety," he said.
"The purple top makes big roots, and we put a bunch of them in the freezer for later in the winter, but the curly mustard just have the foliage," he explained.
For each year that Butler has planted a crop of turnips, he said he sticks to a tried-and-true method that gives him a nice bounty.
"I always wait until about the first of October to sow my seeds," he said.
Waiting for cooler weather means a lower chance insects will infest the plant.
"Aphids will get on the foliage, suck on them and make the leaves spotted-looking," he said.
Proper seed distribution is also key to growing a good crop.
"The seeds are so small, that it's best to mix them with a little sand when you sow them," Butler said. "You'll get better distribution that way."
The technique of seed distribution is also important.
"Just lightly drag a rake over it; don't bury them too deep," he advised.
As always, Butler will plant his seeds in a spot with full sun and fertile soil. "And I use a 10-10-10 fertilizer," he added.
What was once work on a farm many years ago, Butler said he now enjoys as a pastime.
"It's more or less a hobby of mine, and it helps us to have some good food to eat," he said. "Some folks play golf; I work in a garden."
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