March 30, 2013: A Little Garden

Our very large garden was just past the white barn

As children, we would help our mom and grandma tend to our large garden on our grandparent's farm. Below are my mom's words on memories surrounding our garden...

The huge garden was on the south side of the big barn, the cattle lot abandoned long ago, but rich with "aged" manure. Mom knew it was perfect for a vegetable garden. You name it, we grew it, by the bushel. Oh, did I mention the cantaloupes? None better, hands down! the tomatoes - what a crop. How many pints and quarts I canned - lost count. You kids called them "screwed" tomatoes - not "stewed" as was the proper name (the ingredients for stewed tomatoes are tomatoes, onions, celery and sugar). the sweet corn was to die for! our chest freezer was busting at the seams.

All of us, Mom, me, Sandy, Matt and Mark worked together to plant and had fun doing it. String was used to line up the rows (they had to be straight!); with plenty of shovels for everyone,we dug the "trenches". Mom gave each of us seeds with specific instructions on how far apart to space them. A shovel full of manure went into every hill for tomatoes plants and cantaloupe seeds (6 seeds to a hill). Mom was so was the manure that helped produce the best garden ever.

Every weekday morning, just after sun up, me and the kids piled into the pick-up and headed out to the farm. Always best for freezing and canning, the dew had to be on the plants when harvested and the produce processed soon after.

As I recall, not much enthusiasm came from the three of you. But I do give you credit for helping considering your young ages. After a while - in the morning - we cut you some slack and let you go up to the house to hang out with Gpa Doc, Rich, Guy and Kathy. Hit by a bad hailstorm, the cabbages didn't fare so well one year.

The last crop out of the ground, usually early November of even late October - was carrots...trash bags full. Thank goodness they stored well. Our share of the carrots ended up in the vintage fridge in our garage. Much to my surprise they were frozen hard as a rock upon my checking on them later...that was OK...they cooked up fine and stayed frozen in the fridge until we used the last of them.

Sadly, the gardening came to an end. Mom was in the garden by herself and with produce in one hand and a sharp knife in the other, she fell a few feet before reaching the side of the driveway, cutting her hand rather badly.

For many years afterward we talked about our garden, how the five of us worked together and the satisfaction of knowing our efforts produced the best garden ever!


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