Growing up in the 1970s like many children I had to help my family with the gardening. Picking rocks out of the dirt as dad ran the tiller, weeding, watering it seemed like it never ended. The only thing that never ended was my brother and I complaining that we wanted to go play. We had a large garden. My mother utilized it for all the fresh vegetables we would eat that summer. And large amounts of green beans, tomatoes were canned and potatoes stored. That garden put so many sweet pickle or as my mom called them bread and butter pickles in the cellar that it was several years after we moved before I opened the last jar.
I remember one spring as the family started gardening for the year. I decided I wanted to grow beans. I went in the house and grabbed a handful of soup beans and came out proud as could be showing them too mommy. With the loving smile all moms have she said Honey those won’t grow. But come here and we will plant them on the end of the garden bed. I was proud to plant my beans. I was gardening now not just picking up rocks and pulling weeds. Not to be out done my brother ran in the house and came back with several watermelon seeds. Mom with a confused look asked Mike my brother where did you get the watermelon seeds. Mike was a Skinny boy he could run around in the shower and never get wet. With Bright brown Eyes and a jack o’lantern grin he said I saved them. Mom knew that she probably didn’t want to know how long he had them or where they had been. She chuckled and we planted them next to my soup beans. All the while she was explaining to us not to get our hopes up. The wait began.
I remember as a kid we didn’t have transplant seedlings at every store in town. We had one little market. A kind of a farmers market that would set up on the corner of Viand St. and Jericho Rd. It was a big deal for me and mike to go there. It was next to the Dairy Queen and sometimes we were able to talk mom or dad into getting ice cream. We didn’t care about the plants as much as that Dilly Bar. I remember looking at all the plants and thinking to myself this must be where all the food in the world comes from. I had a big imagination.
Several days after we planted the seeds in the garden we would start to check on them. Cut worms are bad around here. If you don’t catch the sprouts soon after coming up you will come out to find them neatly cut off about a half inch above the ground. But if you take a straw split down the side and cut to length for the seedling and slip it around the stem pressing it into the ground about a half inch the Cut Worm can’t cut the seedling off. Another option is if you have chickens let them into the garden after you prep the soil but before you plant they will destroy the Cut Worm population. On one of the inspection tours around the garden I checked my beans and there they were shining like gold nuggets little bean plants. Excited I hollered for mommy come see. Mike beat her over there and looking at my beans he started to look for his watermelons. Mom stood over me and Mike looking at the beans in disbelief. Mike started to cry that his watermelons hadn’t grown. Mom explained that it might take longer for his seeds to sprout just to wait a little longer.
Several days passed and no watermelons. Mike was mad why had Jerrys Beans grown but not my watermelons? We were just children and didn’t know that watermelons are a hot weather plant. Time passed and Mike forgot about the seeds. Along about the end of spring as the weather started to turn hot Mom noticed a funny looking plant growing next to my Beans. After a little investigation it turned out that the Watermelon seeds had sprouted. This was an interesting turn of events no one expected. Out of the entire garden. Of all the radishes, cucumbers, corn, green beans, tomatoes which I and my brother had helped grow that year. We were the most proud of the 2 watermelons and handful of soup bean pods we picked from our little row at the end of the garden.
Don’t tell Mike I said it But his watermelons were better than my Beans.
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Photo From Flickr Commons Thank you: Dairy Queen