Fond memories of plump juicy red tomatoes, crispy green beans, and the snap of popping open the pods of plump, sweet green peas fill my mind when I think of my first exposure to gardening. Grandma grew an abundance of produce in her massive weed-free garden each summer, and her orchard was just as prolific. Having raised a family of nine children (seven of them boys), Grandma was well versed in growing, preserving, and preparing large meals for her hungry farming family during the depression. Her garden consisted of rows and rows of potatoes, beets, tomatoes, beans, peas, carrots, onions, sweet corn, cabbage, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe and she always saved room for Zinnias and Marigolds. She was an organic gardener long before it was the “green” thing to do, relying on composted manure to build up the soil. Her vegetable garden consisted of at least ½ -acre of rich Minnesota black soil and was located right next to an orchard that covered a full acre. Crab-apple, plum, and an assortment of hardy apple trees filled the orchard.
From early spring through late fall, Grandma weeded, hoed and harvested vegetables