Clark Hollow Ramblings: Be fruitful and multiply

I think there might be a little problem with what I’m about to write. The problem will be the use of too many superlatives, so I’ll try to watch that, but I wanted to put you on notice.

My bride and I have had a vegetable garden, of one type or another and of one size or another, for over 40 years. For the first 10 years of our marriage we lived in a one-bedroom apartment and gardening did not figure into the possibilities. Having said that, this year’s vegetable garden has to be the best one we have ever had. With the exception of the onions, which did next to nothing, everything has been coming up roses, so to speak.

We thoroughly enjoyed all the early lettuce, radishes and peas (we even froze a few packages of those). I planted 10 to 12 pounds of Kennebec potatoes and dug five bushels. Our early corn was the best we have ever grown, and we blanched and froze over three dozen ears. We cut it off the cob and hope to use it for corn pudding.

We have canned green beans, about 50 quarts, and tomatoes and tomato juice. Our late corn, which I planted in between the sweet potatoes as an experiment, was just about ready before we left on vacation. I pulled a dozen ears and took them with us. They were really good, but not quite full.

When we returned from vacation last Saturday, I pulled 54 ears of full, sweet yellow corn — most of it 10 inches long or better. I am now eating corn like a hog, twice a day and enjoying every kernel. Our food budget has had to be increased because of the extra butter and salt we needed. Also, when we got back, Linda thought the limas were ready and she picked and shelled enough for some wonderful succotash. If there is anything better over mashed potatoes, I don’t know what it is (except maybe gravy).

And speaking of potatoes, I graveled around under the sweet potato vines which have just about taken over the garden and found two nice specimens to bake, just to give us some indication of what is to come when they are ready for harvesting. My friend, Mr. Jenkins, will be glad to know he doesn’t have to bring us a box of sweet “taters” to get us through the winter.

Even our little transplanted apple tree, which has been blown over twice and is now secured to the cherry tree with a double stand of fence wire, is putting out a few unidentified specimens that are small but tasty, and I am ready to try a few of them fried in a little bacon grease.

So, there you have it. I know it sounds like bragging, but we had very little to do with it. Yes, we planted and cultivated and weeded, but I think it was mostly just a very good season. The rain was plentiful, compared to some years, and it has been a wonderful growing season. As I write this, the kitchen counter is covered with green bell and huge jalapeno peppers to be cleaned and frozen, to be used in the cold weather for chili, meatloaf and whatever else we can come up with.

I trust your garden has produced similar results. It is gratifying to see things grow and mature and be productive, whether it is vegetables or children or grandchildren. I’m still working on those last two items.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 149 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.