We had gardens in a lot of places when I was growing up. I was never responsible for the planting or caring for plants; Mom and Dad did that. I did not have to pick much because I was allergic to most of the plants. My eyes swelled up and I “got itches,” so I could wait by the car while everyone else worked the garden.
I did love the food that came out of the garden though, especially homegrown tomatoes. I would eat okra if it was fried real hard, and green beans were okay. The corn was great, as was shucking ears when they were picked. I was not as fond of squash or zucchini, unless they were dipped in cornmeal and fried. The field peas were the worst, no matter which way they were cooked. Canning and freezing were not my favorite work, and fortunately, I did not have to do it often.
Gardens were a lot of work when I was a kid even though I only did a little bit of it. Once I got married and moved away from home, there was not much time to think about gardens.
We had four kids, and both of us worked most places we lived. There were lots of reasons not to have a garden. The biggest reason, though, was that I had a black thumb.
In the early ‘90s I got a subscription to Plant a Month Club. A nursery would send me a new plant every month with instructions for how to care for the plant. I would put the plant in full sun, partial sun, lots of water, no water – whatever the directions said to do. It did not matter. Within two weeks my plant of the month died. I am not talking droopy leaves, wilted died; I am talking all the leaves falling off, black stalks died. You could hear plants coming to my house crying before they ever got there. They knew their fate.
So how did I get three bushes full of tomatoes? That was easy. I used the pots my mom used to grow her garden last year. Mom can grow sticks so I knew the pots had absorbed good gardener vibes. And, I let my granddaughter, Christina, plant them. She is only 12, but she likes to plant things. I asked my sons to water and feed them. Ben is very into organic gardening and how things work, so he was willing. Brian just likes to help out. That leaves picking them. I will probably get someone else to do this part too, just to be sure my bad gardener cooties don’t get on them. I will just look and enjoy the fruits of everyone else’s labor.
Knowing your limits is part of learning. Knowing how to delegate is learned, too. That’s how you get three bushes full of tomatoes.
By Wanda Campbell