“A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.”

It is the loveliest of mornings, sunny and cool. When I let Gracie outside, I followed her and stood on the deck for the longest time surveying my world and enjoying the start of the day. My vegetables are growing, and I need to stake my tomatoes as they are growing over the wire tomato thingies ( I don’t know what they’re called. Thingies works just as well for almost anything).

When I was growing up, the only fresh vegetable I remember eating was corn in the summer. I didn’t like tomatoes, and my mother didn’t serve salads. She knew we’d all turn up our noses. I ate canned peas, the small ones, the Le Seure peas; they were my favorite. My mother tricked us by hiding the carrots. She mashed them with the potatoes, and for years I thought potatoes were orange and white. My mother also served canned green beans, and we had to eat a few. All his life my father ate canned asparagus, long after the rest of us had found the joys of fresh vegetables. I remember my mother serving them to him at Thanksgiving. If you held up a spear, the top would fall over; they were a bit mushy. He always had the entire can to himself.

My father loved native tomatoes. Around here, when the vegetable season is at its height, people put out tables in their front yards with a variety of vegetables on them. The prices are usually on a piece of paper taped to the table and the money goes in a can. I’d load up on tomatoes and bring them up to my parents’ house when I visited. My dad would cut the tomatoes, load mayonnaise on his plate and take them into the living where he’d snack and watch TV. He always said there was nothing better than native tomatoes.

My dad would love my garden though I suspect he’d say dibs on the tomatoes!

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9 Comments on ““A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    The thingies are tomato cages but thingies works just as well.
    Canned veg. Oook! Though I will admit to a brief affair with Le Seure Baby Peas. Green Giant, of course. Hey, we all have a past. My middle brother still prefers canned veg over fresh or frozen. He’s not like the rest of us. Must be a changeling.
    I don’t recall my mother having problems getting us to eat the normal sort of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, green beans or peas. We wouldn’t do spinach, though. Too mushy slimy. We didn’t care if Popeye ate it, we weren’t going to.
    My father had a huge vegetable garden. He tried to grow a bit of everything but mostly tomatoes and corn. He also did squash, cukes, spinach, lettuces, chard, carrots and potatoes. The potatoes were not a huge success but interesting. One year I did a row of Spanish peanuts just because. They make lovely plants and would be good in a planter arrangement. We don’t have a long enough season up here to make good peanuts.
    Tomato and Miracle Whip sandwich is the best sandwich ever especially if the tomato is right out of the garden. But the absolute best thing is when you walk out to the garden, pick the tomato off the vine, rub it on your shirt and eat it right there while it’s still warm from the sun and just a bit dusty from the soil.
    It’s partly cloudy and low 80’s here. Don’t what it’s supposed to be for the rest of the day but I have nothing planned so it doesn’t matter.
    Enjoy the rest of your day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Thanks on the tomato cages!

      We were fine with potatoes and peas for me-my brother hated them. I can’t even begin to imagine my father tending a vegetable garden. He loved his lawn, and that was it. He planted flowers for my mother, but he could have cared less though he admitted they looked good.

      I think when I was young, there weren’t as many fresh vegetables. They were only available in season-none of that importing from all over the country and the world.

      I like spinach in a salad, never cooked unless it’s in Greek food. In Ghana, there weren’t many fresh vegetables except tomatoes, onions, garden eggs (like a little egg plant used only in soups) and yams. My mother sent green pepper seeds, and the garden boy planted them in the school’s garden. He tried one and thought it was awful-hot peppers were the Ghanaian staple.

      I am a mayonnaise fan. I don’t think my mother ever bought Miracle Whip.

      I’ve been picking my cherry tomatoes and eating them right off the vine.

      It’s the same weather here.

      Have a wonderful rest of the day.

  2. olof1 Says:

    I love that quote ๐Ÿ™‚
    We have a couple of good words for thingies too, grunkor and mojรคnger ๐Ÿ™‚ The word pryttlar is mostly used for small things though ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can’t remember eating anything else than the occasional tomato and carrots, my mother loved carrots ๐Ÿ™‚ We did eat corn on the cobs rather often too but I’m not sure they are counted as vegetables. Corn is a grass and I think it is seen as grain ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love to slice some tomatoes and just sprinkle some salt and pepper on them. I will get some tomatoes after all even if the plants still are tiny and I’ll get lots of spinach ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • Caryn Says:

      One of my old friends was from the Netherlands but grew up in Indonesia. She always called corn on the cob Monkey Corn because only monkeys ate it that way. I’m don’t know if she meant Indonesian monkeys or Nederlander monkeys.

      • Kat Says:

        Christer,
        I looked up corn and it is counted as a vegetable so that was one I’d definitely eat as a kid. We learned never to sit next to my father when he ate corn. He’d go so fast from one row to another that small pieces sometimes went flying.

        I like you have words for different sizes of thingies!

        I’m not a huge spinach fan.

  3. Bob Says:

    My father always had a tossed salad before dinner. He would toss all the veggies and the dressing at the table and would serve us from a big wooden bowl. He would than reserve the remains in the big bowl for himself. He read somewhere that salads were always served before the main course in the South because fresh vegetables preventd an out break pellagra. I had never heard of this disease, but I always ate the salad because I didn’t want to get it and have to have the doctor and get a shot.

    Recently I read an article about why all commercially grown and most home grown tomato varieties lack the taste that native tomatoes had years ago. It seems that native tomatoes had green or yellow tops at the stem end and had odd shapes. The modern tomato was bred from a mutant in 1938 which had all red color and a nearly round shape. The growers wanted the round shape for ease of packing and shipping and customers like the all red color because they think the yellow top indicates the fruit is not ripe. Unfortunately, the mutant tomato lacked the genes that give the wonderful flavor of the native ones.

    • Kat Says:

      Bob,
      I looked up that disease and it’s a niacin deficiency characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea, and mental disturbance, and is often linked to overdependence on corn as a staple food. Niacin is in many sorts of foods.

      I have two heirloom tomato plants in my garden. They came from a woman whose family has grown them for years. I figured they were worth a try.

      The winter tomatoes taste like cardboard to me. You’re right as they seem to be clones-all alike in their size and looks. The farms around here do grow tomatoes and they re lumpy and strangely shaped.

      I am growing orange cherry tomatoes and besides the heirloom, I’m growing romas.

  4. Zoey & Me Says:

    There is little doubt Ann and I are with your Dad. We consumed 22 tomatoes from our garden one summer while canning. Just couldn’t resist. They don’t taste the same here in Florida for some reason but we still add them to our salads.

    • Kat Says:

      Z&Me,
      My Dad together with the two of you would have very much depleted the amount which got canned!


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