Photo by Elaine Rackley: Bill Kincade of Locust Grove has a quarter of an acre of collards, turnips, kale and mustard greens growing in his backyard. The crop is his winter garden. He plants different vegetables in his spring garden.
A former Riverdale barber, who cut hair in Clayton County for 54 years, now grows collards, kale, purple top turnips, and curly leaf mustard greens, in neighboring Henry County.
Bill Kincade once owned Crossroads Barber and Beauty shop, at the intersection of Ga. Highway 138 and Ga. Highway 314. Now, at his 6-acre farm in Locust Grove, he grows greens, vegetables –– mostly greens –– in a one-acre garden behind his Locust Grove home.
“I enjoy working in the garden,” he said. “I sat inside for so many years.”
The 83-year-old farmer said he knows the health value of eating leafy greens. “I took my doctor some turnip greens the other day,” quipped Kincade.
According to nutritionists, dark, green, leafy vegetables are probably the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They have been deemed rich in minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients.
Other than the nutritional value, Kincade said when he grows them himself, he knows he is eating fresh greens, rather than some that have been stored up for weeks.
“These collards are better than going to buy a bunch of collards that have been picked a week or two ago,” said Kincade. “I have the vegetables when I want them, mine are fresh,” he said, looking over his crop.
Kincade prefers cooking the greens mixed together, except collards. “I don’t mix anything with collards,” he said.
The Locust Grove farmer said he planted his greens in September, along with some rutabagas. “The rutabagas take a longer time to grow,” he added.
Kincade said he has been growing vegetables since his childhood in Stanley Valley, Tenn.
Along with his wife of 43 years, Mary, he plants different vegetables at different times of the year. The couple’s spring garden, which they planted in May, included tomatoes, okra, purple hull peas, squash and beans.
As a farmer, Kincade explained that, now, he reaps what he sows.
“You don’t have to till or plow the ground for a winter garden, you do have to do that for a spring garden,” he said. “When you sow a winter garden, you don’t have to use insecticide on it, that kills the honey bees. You should use insectercidal soap on the garden to kill the bugs.”
The Kincade garden is surrounded by an electrified fence. He said it helps to keep the deer from eating the green leafy vegetables.
“They learn not to go near the garden, and then they eat grass,” he said.
Kincade also dug a ditch near the garden, to prevent water from flooding into it.