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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Grandpa’s Garden

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Joyce Friels

Local Gardening


Each spring, after the last hard frost date was forecast according to the Farmer’s Almanac, Grandpa would start tilling his garden. When it was tilled to his liking, he got out the old tall steel manual plow with wooden handles. He sharpened the blade carefully. Then he would walk back and forth across the width of the garden making even and straight rows. Some of the rows would receive the seeds of corn, green beans, carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes, lettuce and peas. He would prepare hills for sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cantaloupe and cucumbers.

When the timing was right he would make a trip to Pittenger’s Greenhouse. He would bring home tomato, beet, sweet green pepper, sweet potato, cucumber and cantaloupe plants. Planting day was exciting and fun as we watched Grandpa put each plant into the carefully planned rows.

It was like watching an artist at work with the large garden area the canvas. The onion sets were placed in the rows at three inches apart and the seeds of the other vegetables were spread evenly along each row. He cut white potatoes into quarters and placed them with the ‘eye’ up in the hills he had prepared for them. He always left the two rows along the sidewalk, facing the street, for seeds of zinnias and marigolds.

After the planting was done he would sit under the shade of the big maple tree sipping a glass of fresh lemonade. We didn’t realize at the time that preparing and planting a garden was hard work. We were just waiting for the seeds to sprout and grow so we could enjoy the end result. We liked to run out to the garden to gather fresh lettuce, radishes and green onions for our supper salad.

Usually, the rain came often enough during the spring and summer that Grandpa didn’t need to bring out the hose and sprinkler. As the days became warmer and the garden started growing we would find him pushing the manual tiller between each row. This was done on a regular basis to eliminate the weeds. Grandpa liked to keep his garden neat and weeds weren’t tolerated.

Every summer and into fall we enjoyed Grandpa’s garden. He always harvested plenty of root vegetables that he would put in the root cellar to keep over the winter months. Grandpa’s garden was a work of love and plenty for his family and friends to enjoy.


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