Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden Musings...

At last! It stopped raining long enough that the soil was able to drain. My husband tilled the vegetable garden yesterday and today we planted. We planted the whole thing!

Here are some of the seed potatoes before we covered them up with soil:

Here is one of them. Fortunately, I cut them 2 days ago, so they've had time for the cut sides to dry. Theoretically, that will help protect them from rotting.

See the wee little green strawberries? :)

The Egyptian Onions are very happy this spring!

They grow in such an interesting manner:

Here is the strawberry patch:

Here is what we planted today:

Sweet corn
about 25 pounds of seed potatoes
2 pounds of onion sets
14 tomato plants
Flour (dent) corn
bush green beans
Swiss chard
Pak Choi
Winter squash
Yellow summer squash
Zucchini squash

We decided to not plant so many things this year as we have in the past. We also planted things with more distance between the rows. Last year it turned into a jungle and made it so we could not use the tiller to do much cultivating.

I will still need to transplant sweet potatoes later and I also want to plant some basil, but did not grow my own this year. But it's nearly all done.

The first real garden I ever had was in 1976. I was expecting our 3rd child. We lived in rural Nebraska (USA). A friend brought some composted sheep manure and spread it for us and tilled it in. A neighbor brought me some bales of spoiled hay to use for mulch. After everything was up, I spread layers of newspapers and then put the hay on top to control the weeds. We had a fabulous garden that year and I canned tomatoes and green beans and pickles all for the first time.

I have so many fond memories of that year. Our oldest daughter, who was 2 at the time, loved the fresh tomatoes. She would toddle out there, pick a huge ripe tomato and eat it. 1/2 of it would land on the front of her clothing! She walked around happily saying "Mato. Mato." She was so sweet. Our oldest, a boy, who was about 4, was convinced that if it was windy, it had to be cold. It could be 90F outside and if the wind was blowing (it nearly always does in Nebraska) then he had to have his winter jacket on. One day, it really was quite hot and I refused to put it on him. After a while he went into the house an reappeared wearing his jacket, backwards. :) I had so few green bean plants that I actually knew them individually. But I picked beans every day and before we left there in August, I had canned 90 quarts of green beans. I remember sitting and nursing the baby, snapping green beans and watching the pressure gauge on the canner all at the same time. They lasted us for 2 years.

Most of the years since, I have been able to garden. I love it. It is a lot of work, but it is also very satisfying, and saves us considerable money. Plus, we have all the organically grown lovelies to eat! When I was not able to have a garden, it really bothered me. But we usually managed to have one.

Another memory.... When the children were young, and they were required to help in the garden... oh, the complaining and griping and whining that ensued was quite a show! One morning, at dawn, I got up by myself and went down to the river where we had beans and corn planted, and picked green beans all by myself. It was wonderful. Quiet, bird song, no fighting or complaining..... my idea of heaven!

If the potatoes do well, we could get as much as 250 pounds. If the sweet corn does well, we could have about 24 dozen ears of corn. Plenty to eat, can and share. My mind is busy with the hopes and possibilities!


  1. Great memories. My grandma used to grow zucchini and cherry tomatoes next to the river. It will be nice to see pictures in the summer time when everything is in full bloom.


  2. What sweet memories!

    We're moving in to a place with very small property, but at least I'll have dirt to dig in and space to grow. I look forward to hopefully making such great memories with Jack.

  3. Mely, thank you, again, for the beautiful corn seeds. We planted the white ones in the main garden and if we get our little garden seed growing garden established we plan to plant the others. In any case, if I don't get to grow the others this year, I certainly will next year! I am looking forward to trying to make hominy.

    Sarah, you can grow and amazing amount of food in just a small plot. Maybe Jack will be eating the "Matos!" :)

  4. Oh, Mom, that sounds wonderful! I remember working in the garden a lot as a kid. You know its funny I don't remember complaining that much if any. But I was a kid and as a kid I am sure I forgot a lot of it.

  5. Do you remember that photo I have of you and your youngest sister bringing a big pumpkin out of the garden, your pretty faces wreathed in smiles? Guess what! Just before I took it, you were fighting like cats and dogs! LOL !!

  6. I remember weeding the garden and snapping beans. Also, the dinners of corn on the cob, fresh veggies and sheep herders bask bread. It was so good!


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