The Garden

How many of you grew up on a farm, or at least had a garden at your house?  I think I have mentioned the lane beside our new house on the Bottom Road in a couple of earlier posts.  Well, that lane went way back into the fields where our neighbors raised their corn and tobacco.  And, down that lane just past the barn, Dad had a huge garden spot.  Across the creek, he had another garden where he planted mostly watermelons and cantaloupes.

When it came time for planting, Mom and Mawdie would go to Yopp Seed Company, in Paducah, which was located near the riverfront and also to the Market House. Back then, the Market House was open and many farmers brought plant slips, tomatoes, onions and potatoes to sell.  Just a note here that in 1960, the Market House ceased to be a market and became a museum and theatre.

Anyway, Cheryl and I usually went along with them and it was really kind of neat to walk through the Market House and see all the farmers there, and there was always a bunch of folks buying what they needed to plant their gardens.

We would go to the Market House first, then we would go to Yopp’s.  Cheryl and I loved Yopp’s because they had these huge barrels full of seeds – all kinds of beans, corn and peas.  We loved the corn because it was coated with a pink substance (I forget what it was) and we would run our arms as far down the barrel as we could and they would be covered in that pink stuff. That usually brought on a threat from my mom.

So, we would get the seeds home and Dad would take his tractor down to the garden and break up the ground.  He would then make nice long rows so that everything could be planted.  Once he got the ground ready, it became a family affair.  We each were given seeds for a row and were expected to plant them exactly right.  It would take a couple of days to get all the planting done, and we would be totally worn out by the time we finished.

Once the vegetables were ready to be picked, it was again a family affair.  We all picked the vegetables and we all shelled beans and peas.  I hated shelling butter beans because those little suckers are hard to shell, especially if you chewed your fingernails like I did.  Every afternoon, Mom would send one of us to the garden to pick some fresh tomatoes for supper.  One time, I went skipping down there, and as I reached down to pick a tomato, I came face to face with a chicken snake.  Well, I went back to the house (and pretty quickly I might add) without any tomatoes.  Mom made me go back and I was sure the snake would have his whole family waiting there for me.  But, evidently I scared him worse than he scared me and he was gone.

I tell ya, my Dad loved gardening and there were absolutely no weeds anywhere in sight.  His gardens were always plentiful and my dad was happy to share the wealth with others.

See ya next Wednesday.