After Dad had the gardens dragged smooth, it was time to plant. All the Scheckel kids helped plant the garden. Each kid planted according to our age and ability. Binder twine was rolled on a stick. Mom showed us how to push a stick into the ground. Then we would unroll the binder twine to the other end of the garden. We would pound in another stick and tie the binder twine. A trench was dug using a hoe held at an angle. Mom gave us the seeds, told us how far apart to place them, and showed us how to use our hands to cover up the seed.
Corn, peas, and bean seeds were easy to plant. But some seeds were hard to see and difficult to handle. I had trouble determining how far apart to plant the seeds for carrots, radishes, beets, and lettuce. Mom showed us how to place the seed packet over the stick to mark what was planted. We also planted string beans and cabbages.
We grew pumpkins among the sweet corn. Cucumbers took up a lot of space. Watermelon seeds were planted in a nearby field of corn, usually in the sandhill field.
Strawberries were perennials, so they came back without planting. Raspberries and rhubarb also came up every year. We had an entire row of rhubarb behind the garage. We would cut off a stalk and go to the house, and dip the rhubarb into a handful salt. We learned not to eat too much rhubarb at one time, because it would “clean a person right out.” Apparently, rhubarb was a natural laxative.
Asparagus grew wild in tall stalks alongside the gravel road. There was no need to cultivate or tend it. But asparagus would get covered with the dust of passing cars and need to be washed thoroughly before we could eat it. It was delicious and tender. Continued next week….