I Never Promised You an Organic Garden is the one hundred-forty-fourth episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on April 13, 2003. The episode was written by Tony Gama-Lobo and Rebecca May, and directed by Adam Kuhlman.
Hank voices displeasure when he reads a newspaper article about schools yanking vegetables from their cafeteria menus because of high produce prices. He worries that the school football team will suffer when they don’t get their vitamins. Bobby tells Hank and Peggy that the school had an organic garden at one time, and kids who wanted to skip gym class got to work in the garden before it was gotten rid of. Intrigued, she approaches Principal Moss and inquires about the now-defunct garden. Moss explains that it was dismantled to make more storage space for the football team. Peggy makes a deal: she’ll grow the freshest vegetables in the county for the team if Moss brings back the garden. He sees wisdom in her words and gives Peggy his blessing.
Later, Peggy meets with her gardening students, which include Bobby, Rain, Spencer, Tommy, Andrew and Maria. The group sets to work, and before long they present the football team with the fruits of their labors. Everyone is very impressed with the quality of the vegetables, including the coach, who tells Bobby to keep up the good work. Hank overhears the coach’s compliment and later tells the guys in the alley what he said. Inspired, Dale decides to start a garden of his own, and he convinces Bill and Boomhauer that his garden will do much better with some help from bat guano. Meanwhile, Bobby and Peggy discover that the garden has been overrun with bugs. When the next batch of vegetables is delivered to the football team, Principal Moss reacts to the sight of worms in the food and threatens to dissolve the organic garden once and for all. He gives Peggy two weeks to turn it around.
Peggy and Hank consult various organic gardening books for help. The books recommend natural things like beer to drive slugs away and dusting the plants with ashes to discourage cutworms. But Peggy soon realizes the natural remedies aren’t working. She turns to Tomich for advice. Surprisingly, he recommends the use of pesticides, which have been the secret to his success. Peggy buys some bug spray and, working clandestinely, sets about spraying the plants in the middle of the night. Before long, Hank, Bobby and the other kids conclude that the natural deterrents are working. He’s so impressed that he begins using natural compost on his own lawn to keep it green. Unbeknownst to him, Peggy is helping the lawn by spraying it with bug poison.
Meanwhile, Dale and his friends make their way to an area under a bridge, where they set about collecting bat guano for the garden. Unfortunately, the bats wake up. Soon after, the guys are covered with guano. Meanwhile, Hank and the students make their way to the garden, where they find Peggy fast asleep, cradling a canister of pesticide. When Peggy awakens, she admits using the spray on the plants, but insists she had no choice given the options. When Principal Moss learns the truth, he pulls the plug on the garden. Bobby tells Hank that the football team will soon be moving their tackling sleds onto the area, but Hank thinks what Peggy did is similar to an athlete using steroids, and wants nothing to do with the garden. Determined, Bobby convinces his fellow students to pitch in, telling them there’s one harvest left and if they work hard enough, they just might save the crops. When the day of the harvest arrives, Hank watches the kids at work and beams with pride. But moments later, the football team threatens to destroy the garden with their sleds. Hank steps in, telling the players that they’ll have to get through him first before they can get to the garden. The football team backs off, and Bobby’s group allows Peggy to rejoin their group as long as she promises never use pesticides on their garden again, and they tend to the vegetables.
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Dale Gribble
- Bill Dauterive
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Principal Moss
- Mr. Tomich
- The episode title is a reference to the Lynn Anderson song, "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden."
- When Peggy is filling a pan with beer in the garden, the goth girl's hand can be seen snatching one on the side.
- When Peggy is filling a pan with beer, she makes a reference to the song, Closing Time by Semisonic.
- When two of the kids are fighting with rakes, one of them mentions saving Queen Amidala from the dark side, a reference to the Star Wars prequel films, the first two of which (The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones) having been released by the time this episode originally aired.
- In an earlier episode while Hank is shown watching football on television, Willie Lane's stats appear on screen as a quarterback, conflicting with the later episode New Cowboy on the Block.
- Hank: "Is there anything beer can't do?"
- Hank: "Organic garden? That's what hippies eat. When was the last time you saw a hippie that could take on an offensive tackle?"
- Dale: "You know what would make this baby sing? Bat guano. Nature's miracle-grow."
Bill: "Where do you buy bat guano? Sears?"
Dale: "Yes. But it lacks the potency of straight-out-of-the-bat feces. Nope, we need to go straight to the source, mano a guano."
- Peggy: "Oh, my God, you grew a garden of lies."
Mr. Tomich: "Yes, and tomatoes the size of your cranium. Look, if you want to keep your garden and your job, you gotta use pesticides. What do you think is keeping termites from eating this deck? Love?"
- Dale: "Oh, God, we've awakened a sleeping, pooping giant!"
- Peggy: "I had no choice. You can't get anything good without chemicals. Chemicals are what keep my hair so high and brown."
- Peggy: "I've gone straight, I swear. I'm off chemicals. I didn't even use any shampoo or soap or deodorant this morning. Smell me!"
- Hank: "Well, I guess I'm going to head on in to watch some of the Home and Garden Network. It's compost week. Bobby and I are thinking of making a batch for the team."
Dale: "Dang it, now I've got compost fever, too."
Bill: "Me too. Maybe we can pitch in."
- Dale: (pause, after the bat leaves one small pellet) "We need more bats."
- This episode won an Environmental Media Award for best use of environmental themes in a half-hour sitcom episode.
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