Kearney man invests around $1,000 in garden every year, gives produce away for free

Diaz’s crops vary a bit from year to year. He plants whatever he feels like growing each spring. In the past, he has grown green beans and asparagus, but not this year. Asparagus was hard to grow, he said. As for green beans, “I kind of slacked off,” he said.

He waters his little Eden twice a week by hand. The process takes hours. “The plants use a whole lot of water,” he said.

He uses no fertilizer, weed killers or chemicals. He labors with his hands and his hoe, although this year he did set plastic down between the rows to deter weed growth.

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The garden is a hardy survivor of most weather, although “I don’t like hail. That’s a bad thing. And high winds,” he said. Twice in recent years, he has replanted after hail ruined his crops.

Diaz’s delicious corn is ready to be picked and eaten.

Giving it all away

Earlier this month, Diaz expected to start harvesting in earnest. “It all depends on how ambitious I want to be on the weekends. My wife thinks I’m crazy,” he said with a chuckle.

He does not sell his produce. He gives it all away to friends, neighbors, relatives and coworkers. “All they’ve got to do is ask. Some people say I should charge, but I don’t,” he said.

When the harvesting is finished, he tills the plants back into the soil. “People say I lose a lot of topsoil with tilling, but it puts a lot of nutrients back into the ground,” he said. Then, like his garden, Diaz rests for the winter.

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