Mom's Garden

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    This could have gone in Reminiscences as well but, since it's about a garden, I suppose this is as good a place for it as any.

    In my thread about baked potatoes, I mentioned my mom's garden but I wanted to go into it more, and it's not really about baked potatoes.

    My dad farmed several 40-acre plots of land, some owned and some leased. I guess the farmers in the area got together at some point to decide what to grow because pretty much everyone grew the same cash crop every year. That was probably the only way they could sell it, rather than sending one truck out for potatoes, another for beans, and yet another for peas, and so on.

    There was a regular rotation of crops, and some of it had more to do with keeping the soil from being depleted than profit. I know there were years that were going to be more profitable than others. Of the crops that I can remember, he grew potatoes, cow corn, peas, beans, and cucumbers, while some of his lands were rotated into growing hay which, I think, was good for the soil, as well as for the horses that he kept. He had seventeen, at one time.

    But that's not what I wanted to talk about. This is about Mom's garden. Before going out to plow his fields, he would plow an acre near the house for Mom's garden. He would plow it with the tractor, but everything else was left to her, and I think she enjoyed it because she rarely asked for help. Once in a while, she would ask us to weed it but she did most everything with the garden.

    I don't remember once seeing Dad doing anything with her garden after the ground was plowed. I think she really enjoyed working in her garden. He probably built the trellises that she'd use for some of the crops, like tomatoes and beans, though. I know that I didn't, and I don't recall seeing her doing it.

    Whatever Dad was growing as a cash crop, we'd eat some of that. When he grew potatoes or cucumbers, we kept the oversized and the undersized ones, and probably some of the other crops he grew would wind up on our table, as well.

    But when Dad grew potatoes, I think they were always russets, so Mom would plant other varieties of potatoes in her garden. Likewise, when he planted beans, she would grow other types of beans. When Dad grew cow corn, we would eat some of that too, and I preferred it to the sweet corn, but Mom would grow sweet corn, or sometimes even multicolored varieties of corn.

    She grew a larger variety of vegetables than is found in most grocery stores today and canned enough to last the winter, or at least greatly reduce the number of vegetables that would have to be bought at the store. It was a neat and orderly garden too.
     
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  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Sounds wonderful, I wish I;'d grown up in the country instead of the city...

    Sounds like you have wonderful memories of your mum and dad...
     
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  3. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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    Your post reminded me of my own childhood.

    My father and uncle raised peas on my grandmother's farm as the first cash crop in the spring. They also raised potatoes and cabbage as standard items, some years they made a bundle and some years they got skunked. I remember going to the state-sponsored farmers market with my uncle. He would always wear an old raggedy coat and take an old rusty one-ton truck filled with produce. My uncle firmly believed that people expected to see a poor honest farmer and that no one liked to see a prosperous farmer, I tend to think that he was correct about that. Most of the potatoes and cabbage that they raised was sold to a potato chip company and a kraut company.

    Our kitchen garden was never neat and orderly, it was huge and filled with weeds that helped to shade the vegetables, LOL!

    I remember the sprouting potatoes in the old dark cellar and also the ancient canned goods that had been put up many years before covered with dust and cobwebs.

    I'm the first generation in my family that didn't have a definite connection to the farm for at least part of it's living.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Yeah, I think some of our potatoes were sold for potato chips too. At that time, nearly every town had a potato chip factory, where they were made, packaged, and distributed locally. Stephenson, Michigan, with a population of only about a thousand people, had a Lays Potato Chip factory. It was a small block building that later became a drive-in restaurant, and then an arcade. They would give big cardboard boxes of their overdone chips (which were the best) to the Boy Scouts, or sell them for a quarter a box.

    Most of them went further than that, though. The buyers would come in with a conveyer belt thing that would separate the potatoes by size (there was something similar for cucumbers), and the ones that were too small or too large were rejected.
     
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  5. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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    We had an old manual potato grader similar to this one and a slightly more modern one that had a small gasoline engine.

    We used to stand on either side of the grader and pick out rocks as the potatoes bounced down the line. The small potatoes were prized for salt potatoes, the largest ones were often hollow and ended up in our kitchen along with the culls that had been damaged during harvest. I was told that the large hollow potatoes were a sign of too much chemical fertilizer.

    upload_2018-9-2_17-7-20.jpeg
     
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  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    We didn't have our own. The buyers or distributors brought the grader in. I remember it as being long and yes, it had a gasoline engine.
     
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  7. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    Hollow Heart can also be caused by too much rain late in the season. I think it is caused by the potato growing rapidly when it is nearly mature.
     
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  8. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    My Mama always had a big garden, too. When fall came, the pantry would be full of canned vegetables. I used to have a big garden, too. I seldom canned things, though. I froze them instead. I gave away a lot of what I grew. I enjoyed working in the garden in the early morning. It would be cool and the birds would be singing. The bees would be buzzing among the vegetables. Life was good.
     
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  9. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I guess We are the equivalent of Ken's mom. We have big gardens and can and freeze a lot of stuff. Maybe our children and grandchildren will think back to our garden as fondly as Ken thinks back on his mom's.
     
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