Andalusia man turns ‘garbage’ into veggies

Published 12:01 am Friday, July 15, 2011

James Elmore shows off his “hobo-grown” eggplants at his Andalusia home. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News

Andalusia resident James Elmore has set out to prove that “not all garbage is garbage,” he said.

The former City of Andalusia employee who retired 11 years ago, said he’s always “piddled” in his yard planting flowers, tomatoes and egg plants, but said he decided to try a different approach this growing season.

“I had seen people put their tomatoes and egg plants into a barrel,” he said. “I got to thinking, ‘why not put them in a hobo?’”

So, Elmore said he went to the city and got several hobos the city was planning to throw away and planted two tomato plants and three eggplant vines.

Elmore said the tomato vines were thick and strong, which could mean record-size tomatoes.

“I grew a 3-pounder in 1996,” he said.

And just what is the secret to Elmore’s success?

“I make my own mulch out of grass and leaves,” he said. “When I cut my grass or rake my leaves, I put all my grass and leaves in a pen.”

Elmore said when he gets ready to plant, he puts the mulch in the bottom of the hobo and mixes it with dirt.

“When I need to, I put more mulch on top,” he said. “There is nothing in it that is manmade.”