Angela Otts

My tomato plant has baby tomatoes on it. I’m a balcony gardener and pretty excited about it.

My mother always had a big garden. There wasn’t any grassy yard out back of our house, just a big plowed garden. It was fringed with a cherry tree, an apple tree, two grape vines and rows of asparagus. It was beautiful.

It was always there every spring and summer, reaping such wonderful things to eat.

My siblings and I helped plant the vegetables as soon as the earth could be plowed. We lived in Illinois and we had to wait til the winter was well passed.

We had a grocery store out there. Peas, green beans, radishes, green peppers, cantaloupe, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, even herbs. It was grand!

My tomato plant pales in comparison. My mother canned a lot of the veggies, made jams and juices from the fruit trees. She was a farmer at heart but she took after her mother who grew everything.

Working the earth and seeing things grow was a survival mode in those days. It also gave young and old something to do and feel good about. We were taking care of ourselves and sharing our bounty at the same time.

Maybe we need to get back to that.

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