GARDENING For more than 20 years, NEIL SPERRY has been the font of most wisdom about home gardening in North Texas, with a newspaper column, magazine, popular book, and a long-running call-in show each weekend morning on KRLD. Sperry preaches the standard gardening gospel to his legions of followers: lay on the chemical fertilizers and, when faced with bugs, weeds, or disease, take “rides’- insecticides, herbicides, etc.
Then came Mr. Natural, HOWARD GARRETT. Though he’s published books on organic gardening in Texas since 1976, it was Garrett’s Dallas Morning News column, “The Natural Way,” that started a stir when it began last year. News officials do not care to comment, but Garrett claims that the same chemical lobby that has vowed to get the head of Agriculture Commissioner (and organic enthusiast) Jim Hightower has tried to squelch his column as well.
“There are people who are opposing what I do because it affects them financially,” Garrett says. “There are a lot of people who depend on the income they make off these chemicals. It’s hard to be a mogul in manure.”
Garrett’s column was the springboard to his own organic gardening show Sunday mornings on WBAP, replacing an A&M-trained spread-and-spray horticulturalist. Says Garrett: “I think everybody they interviewed said, ’Whoever you hire. don’t hire Howard Garrett and do that organic thing.’”