Friday, November 18, 2011

My Earliest Gardening Efforts

Mom and Dad were great gardeners in their day.  We relied heavily on the garden, fresh in the summer, frozen and canned, or from the root cellar,  in the winter.  We probably had the best part of an acre in cultivation.  Planting the garden on the May 24th weekend was a day-long exercise.  Two weeks later after the danger of frost was past, then the tomato plants would be set out.

This shot was from about middle of the garden, so you get an idea of the actual size - a lot of weeding!

There was continual harvesting throughout the season, but there was usually a couple of days, a week apart or so, in early August, when the large pea patch was harvested.  Mom was particularly partial to peas, and there was an unwritten decree that we had to have a minimum of 60 quarts of peas in the freezer each year.  Try to imagine how many pails of peas-in-pods that requires.  Dad and my brother were the chief pickers, Mom and I usually did the shelling, with everyone joining late in the day, after the picking was complete.  Yes I can out-shell anyone to this day (hardly a marketable skill in this economy).  Then would come the task of blanching and bagging all those little green gems.

However, I've digressed from the topic of my original gardening efforts.  I was probably four, the year I had my first garden.  It was a tiny little plot right behind the house.  I must have planted a selection of veggies, but it was the potatoes that stand out in my recollection.  They came up beautifully, but before they had ever had a chance to blossom, I pulled the poor things to investigate what was developing beneath the soil.  Of course all I located was a few small marble-sized tubers.

These would have dwarfed my tiny specimens.
 The next gardening incident I recall was my pumpkin.  Our growing season was often too short for pumpkins to mature, but on this particular year, I did have one fruit set and get large enough for me to have my own personal pumpkin seat.

In public school I always had a patch on the left hand side of the main garden, that was specifically mine.  I was a great one for perusing the seed catalogues, and anything new or unusual caught my eye.  I can recall trying such exotic crops as salsify, kohl rabi, ground almonds, just to name a few.  I guess it was all very good training for the market garden I eventually operated as a teenager.  But that is fodder for another blog entirely.

One of my early gardening efforts, corn to the left, morning glories on the trellis, looks like both glads and zinnias in the garden itself.  Mom and Dad were very wise in allowing me to plant what I liked, they knew they were nurturing a future gardener.  Interestingly both my brothers are both avid gardeners too, although my sister is not.

Another garden a few years later.

The Daily Quest

This is a new daily feature on The Musical Gardener blog. Below is a question, or puzzle that will change day by day. Do not use the comment section of the blog for your answer.

Answer to Yesterday's Puzzle: "For once in your life"

Today's Puzzle:
Who Doesn't Belong

a) Marigold
b) Live Bait
c) Lead Foot
d) Ironing Board

Please respond with your answer to the email below. I apologize but you will have to type my email address in manually (I'm attempting to avoid spammers).
Don't forget Musical Gardener Contest
And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. That was a LOT of peas your mother grew. I admire her determination. I used to check carrots in my mother's garden-we never seemed to get any big ones. Hum. Gardening is a wonderful passion to pass through the generations.

  2. My mother passed down her love of gardening to me and I have passed that on to my children. It is a mighty good thing to teach your children to appreciate the simple, beautiful things in life.

  3. My family also had a large garden and the produce was a main source of our food. Funny how gardening parents influence their kids. My daughter is a gardening fanatic.
    It's sad that very few people garden these days.

  4. You had a very early green got me out of housework. You know I don't think that the peas produce like they did years ago..My Grandma used to can them and freeze too lots of pods:)


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