Dad’s Garden

A labor of love. That’s what they call gardening. Although it definitely is hard work to
have and maintain a garden, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
My father always put out a sizable garden every spring. Spring was when he actually put
the seeds in the ground, but winter was when he did his planning. I can remember him
sitting in his easy chair, pencil and notebook in hand, planning what he was going to
purchase and where in the garden it would go. On the end table alongside him would be a
stack of seed catalogs that he had subscribed to through the mail. He literally spent hours
of his time looking through these catalogs and tirelessly planning. As a child I never saw
the attraction of the catalogs, however I did pick them up and enjoy the pretty pictures.
What came to my mind mostly, though, when I saw Dad going through these catalogs
were not only visions of big healthy plants but also big healthy weeds, and a longhandled
hoe with me on the other end of it! I did my fair share of hoeing and pulling weeds,
but so did the others. I have to admit that it wasn’t a labor of love for me at that time but
rather a chore that my dad expected me to do. So I did. Like most every unpleasant task I
tackled as a child, I made a game out of it to make it more endurable. I pretended that I
was in a contest and I had to grow the biggest and best vegetables to win. It helped to
give the sweat and the sore back a purpose. One year Dad decided to give a huge portion
of our garden lot over to the production of potatoes. It was an enormous patch which did
very well. When the potato plants “died down “and began to turn yellow, it was then time
to dig them up. Grandpa came over with his small tractor and turned the soil, producing
an absolutely stunning amount of dirty, yet beautiful, big round potatoes. I can remember
dredging through the big clumps of overturned earth and filling a burlap bag as full as I
could carry. Mom then washed some of the potatoes with a garden hose and took them
into the house in big washtubs and buckets. The rest of the potatoes went into the truck
and into my Grandfather’s cellar, where they would keep cool and dark until we were
ready for them.
I never see a dirty potato anymore. All of mine come from the grocery, but what I would
give to feel and smell that fresh cool dirt on a homegrown potato once again!
I belong to a couple of garden clubs and there has been much talk lately, because of the
economy and the higher prices of food, of a renewed interest in vegetable gardening. It
makes sense to me. It’s hard work, but just like a child that you have raised and spent
valuable time on to ensure a good foundation, the reaping is worth the sowing.
The recipe I would like to share is a little different take on a salad than you may be used
to, but you must give it a try. It includes those wonderful and tasty potatoes.
Fresh Garden Vegetable Salad
2 medium size potatoes
1 large stalk of Romaine lettuce (you could use Iceberg)
1 large yellow sweet onion (sliced in ¼ inch slices)
1 red pepper or yellow pepper, cut in thin strips
1 large handful of snow peas (optional)
½ stalk of celery
1 cup of whole kernel corn
1 cup of feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes and let cool. Dice like you would if you were making potato salad.
Fry the corn in a skillet with butter just long enough to gently brown. Let cool.
On 2 cookie sheets place the onions, red pepper, celery, and snow peas. Drizzle with
Olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper, then oven roast at 375 degrees for at least 10 minutes
Or until they are browned just a little, but not soggy. They still should be crisp.
Tear the lettuce in a large mixing bowl and add vegetables, potatoes, corn, and feta
Cheese. Coat with your favorite dressing.
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One Response to Dad’s Garden

  1. ernestwilson says:

    This brings back so many memories of the past. We had a large garden. But not nearly the potato patch that Jeanie had to deal with. Our patch was small enough that we could with a potato fork. Like a small pitch fork with wider tongs.
    So much for that. I enjoy reading these articles more than sports illustrated.
    Recipes aren’t bad either.
    Thanks for the good news
    And keep on keepin on Jeanie

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