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Garden lovers still plant for good eating

KATHRYN YARBRO
Guest Columnist

It’s garden-making time and planting and sowing are the talk of the garden lovers around here.
Almost everywhere you go you can see those small plots where grass isn’t allowed to grow because soon it will be where supper is gathered.
Now the plants get special treatment and almost overnight it seems as if they are about at the cooking stage.
From my front porch, I’ve watched my neighbor prepare the soil, plant and put in seeds, place cages for tomatoes and a twine web for beans. This man has two green thumbs as it looks as if his garden grows overnight.
I remember as a child when garden-making time came around, with the horse to plow and prepare the rows for planting. I also remember the food that was gathered and prepared for lunch by mother.
It seemed as if that okra would never get big enough to eat, but when it did that fried crunchy vegetable with corn and tomatoes was a favorite lunch.
The overabundance of beans and tomatoes were canned and saved for a winter day, but okra was never saved. We ate it as it was picked.
Other foods were gathered and saved for another meal. I remember sweet potatoes being dug up and taken to a sweet ‘tator house where room had been reserved for them.
They were brought back home a bushel at a time for winter eating. Few smells coming from the oven of that old wood-burning stove could make your mouth water like sweet potatoes baking on a winter day.
This happened before food stores began to show up on every corner. The country store didn’t stock many vegetables.
Soft drinks, crackers, cheese and bologna were usually found inside, along with gas pumps out front.
Candy, pork and beans, and sugar and pinto beans by the pound, could be found behind the counter.
Later on, you could get ice by the pound. That was before power lines brought refrigerators to our house.
We had an ice box on the back porch, but if the ice was used or melted before the next delivery, we could get five pounds, carry it home in a sack and we would have tea with lunch.
City cousins were envied because they had lights, refrigerators, ice trays and even an electric stove. But we were the favorite place to be in the summer. There were trees to climb, swings to make, creeks to wade and other cousins nearby.
Sometimes we were allowed to get ice chips on a hot afternoon and if there was enough ice, we could make that turn freezer hum.
We were the last ones along our road to get power lines strung for our convenience.
Today’s modern supermarket became available when most families had the means to get to it. Some of the old vehicles couldn’t make to trip to town, or like the one Sunday suit, it was for church only.
Farm families still plant and harvest food for the table and other crops for income. Gardens have kept going but some farmers have made summer vegetables easy to get as they contribute to a Farmer’s Market.
Those of us, whose thumb was never green, can take advantage of what others have at the market. I like going to the Farmer’s Market early in the morning.
It’s a good chance to get good food and see many good friends.

Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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