Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

Hi, Mom!

Posted by: Martha Buns under Flowers, Preserving, Vegetables Updated: May 8, 2011 - 11:07 AM

What's your Mom-related gardening story? I'm guessing anyone who had a gardening mom has some memories that are firmly planted.

I spend every Mother's Day in the garden, just generally speaking not my own. My longtime gardening mother is no longer spry enough to manage hers, so I spent yesterday cleaning it up for spring, helping her pick out what she wanted for her window box and getting it planted.

Not surprisingly, one of  my mother's oft-told stories involves gardening: She was weeding in the garden, sitting on the rustic stool she used, with my then very young older sister scooting along on a small stool after her as she worked. My sister asked why she moved so often, and my mother explained that she moved to tend to the next plant. My sister is reported to have said: "I move to get tooked care of."

While taking care of all of us, my mother managed to maintain a garden large enough to produce sufficient vegetables to take a family of six through the winter. She was the garden's primary caretaker, but it was a family affair in which we all learned our allotted roles: Father prepared the garden for planting and planted all the sweet corn rows. Granddad was the raspberry picker, donning netting over an old army pith helmet to enter the buggy thicket. My sister and I were the designated pea shellers and bean snappers, struggling valiantly to stay ahead of the mounds Mother picked.  Corn season was a bigger production number, with my brothers filling large wheelbarrows with the ripe ears, my sister and I husking and silking, and my mother once again in the kitchen in the hot Iowa summer, processing it all for freezing.

My childhood memories are filled with helping weed that garden, and much of what I know about gardening I probably absorbed then: how to know when produce is ripe, how to can tomatoes, which ones are the weeds, the payoff for hard work, and that blue cornflowers and orange cosmos make a "luscious" bouquet.

So to the woman who "tooked care of" us all as well as that garden, happy Mother's Day, even though you don't have a computer to see this.

Care to share your Mom garden stories?

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