Yesterday Sweet Husband and I finally got the garden in. Please don’t be overly excited by the term “garden” because it’s not really a garden. Or at least not what I think of when I think of a garden. We have two 8′ x 4′ raised beds. In one of them, we have 5 (maybe 6? can’t remember) tomato plants, 2 basil plants, and a watermelon plant. In other other we have 2 cucumber plants, a zucchini plant, 2 hot banana pepper plants, some dill, some cilantro, 2 okra plants, and a jalapeno plant.
So totally not impressive when I compare it to the gardens of my childhood that took up an entire lot. Grandma and Grandpa Conrad’s place in Billings was actually on three lots: their house, the rental house, and the plot that was the garden and ran the length of both properties. Every spring most of that back lot was tilled and primed to become a garden. Rows upon rows of onions were planted on the far end. And then there were rows of tomatoes. And rows of cucumbers. And rows of corn and green beans (something Sweet Husband and I have not planted, which I think it’s probably too late for even down here. I’ll have to hit up the farmer’s markets for those so I can can some shelly beans). And okra. And god knows what else was in that garden. I can’t remember everything that was planted back there.
I don’t remember doing a lot of work in the garden. I’m sure that we did. We had to have, didn’t we? I do remember picking five gallon buckets of tomatoes. Grandma canned those. And I remember her snapping and stringing green beans, but I don’t remember picking those for her. I remember bucket after bucket of cucumbers that turned into quart after quart of the pickles that I particularly loved…those hot and spicy dill pickles and good lord the mustard pickles. (I have the dill pickle recipe, but not the mustard pickle. 🙁 so if any of you have a mustard pickle recipe…just mustard and pickles, not other assorted veggies in there with it…let me know)
I’m hoping that we get enough tomatoes to have some excellent sandwiches and some fresh salsa, and I’d really like to can a few quarts of pickles. Enough that I can enjoy them whenever I want and maybe there are a few jars to give away. If we manage that, I’ll be happy.
I never paid a lot of attention when I was younger because it wasn’t something that mattered a whole lot to me. Kind of like the sewing. I didn’t particularly care about that when I was younger either. But the older I get, the more those things matter to me, and the more that I wish I’d paid attention way back when…or been forced to pay attention. I could have been so much more useful over the years.
Now when my grandmother is too old and too far away to help, I get to learn it on my own. Mom is still here and still available for consultation, but she is still far away. The internet is a great tool, but it doesn’t replace that knowledge that’s been handed down from generation to generation.
Perhaps I’m feeling this a bit more keenly because we just came back from a visit with Grandma and I am reminded that while she’s here now, I don’t know how much longer she’ll be here with us. And even though she’s here with us now, there’s a lot that she doesn’t remember because it’s been too long since she’s had to think about it or do it. That knowledge is lost, and I have to do my best to re-create it.
Have I mentioned that I wish I would have paid attention?