Grit Blogs > Country at Heart

Grandma's Garden

Arkansas GirlThough my Mother never really planted or tended a garden, her mother (Grandma) always had a beautiful patch. She had a garden for every season, and it escapes my memory what veggies grew in which season, but seems like every day of the year, she went to the garden to fetch something for dinner. And my most fun thing to do, especially in the summer, was to spend a week at Grandmother's house. Whenever she started toward the garden, with basket in hand, my stomach started laughing, because it knew that it wouldn't be long before it would be filling up with something more than delicious that Miss Maud would send its way.

Now, I must admit, I never helped her tend her garden, and she never asked me to. Because I did so much other field work, I never really liked digging in the dirt and hoeing and pulling up grass. Then again, it could have been laziness that made me sit on the porch in the swing while she worked. I would wash the dishes and clean the kitchen, but garden work just wasn't my "thing." And to this day, I still don't like growing anything, not even a potted plant. So, so much for my "green" thumb.

I grew up eating all the vegetables that my Grandmother grew. We seldom ate anything from a can except sardines, mackerel, and occasionally Vienna sausage. The majority of our food was grown or came from what we raised. Actually, to this day, I don't really like anything canned, but living in the city, there aren't that many options for garden-grown produce (except the grocery store or Farmer's Market).

At any rate, Not only did my Grandmother grow some mean vegetables, but she was one heck of a cook. I can still taste her yellow summer squash, fried with what we call "country cow butter" stirred in with garden fresh onions. Now, that's just good, down-home eating and you can't get much better than that.

Let's see if I can remember what all grew in her garden. Okra, butter bean, summer squash, collard, mustard, and turnip greens, turnip roots, cabbage, onion, corn, peppers, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, field peas, snap (string) beans, sweet potatoes, and of course, most of our fruits, we bought from surrounding farmers or from grocery stores.