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The Rusted Garden
Entry One - My 'Grand-Pop' Taught Me Early
I was first taught how to grow tomatoes and cucumbers as a child when I started grade school. My grandfather had a beautiful garden and he would always come to our house each spring to turn the soil and plant tomatoes. He had a special process for planting them that he taught me each year. I didn’t even realize I was learning. All I really remember is having a great time putting stuff into the ground. He would always come the week after Mother’s Day. It wasn’t until I became much older that I realized the principles of gardening he had taught me. He was always just helping Nature along. After the tomatoes were in, my mom and I would always add some lettuce, cucumbers and pepper plants. Before I knew it, we had our garden fully planted. Massive weeds would always come but the garden always produced!
Now as a kid, I can’t say I tended the garden or really appreciated it for what it was and is truly worth. In fact being told to weed it was nothing less than torture. What I did learn was that vegetables came from plants and they grew out of the ground. A fact that I think is a bit lost today. Many kids think and believe vegetables come from the store and out of a bag or can. They don’t know tomatoes grow on a vine, peas come in pods or that radishes grow in the ground. I was taught about vegetables and gardening at an early age. Planting a vegetable garden, to me, was fun and easy. I believed I could do it. My grandfather taught me all I needed to know. He gave me a lifelong hobby and ignited a passion.
I always loved planting with 'Grand-Pop.' It is the memory I hold of him and it is something that became a part of me. I still can see him in his light blue spring jacket. The left pocket was always filled with biscuits for our dog and our dog knew it. She would run right to his left hand and stare at it until she got a treat. Every year he would be carrying that same old aged blue coffee can of what he called 'sweetener' which with garden lime. He would also be holding a brown paper grocery store bag that held cello transplant packs of beefsteak tomatoes. You could smell the tomatoes as soon as the plants were pulled out of the bag. A smell I never get tired of and one that signals the new gardening season has truly started.