Volume 12, Number 67, 2009

A Gardening Experience
by Barbara Minaker

I have always enjoyed gardening. However when I moved to Brighton, the back lawn of the house that I had bought was a weed patch and full of trash. I thought to myself, “I’ll rototill a patch of ground right in the middle of that lawn.” So I did. That done, I proceeded to plant the usual beets, carrots, beans, onions and squash. The land proved to be very fertile and by harvest time I had nothing but squash. The vines had taken over my entire garden and the beets, carrots and beans had given up trying to reach the light. Spanish onions were the same size as when I had planted them. But the squash - wow - all 23 of them were perfect!

Now what does a lady of eighty years of age do with 23 squash? Whoever came to my door - neighbour, friend, relative or stranger - got a squash until I had only seven remaining. I stored them in my cold room. By Christmas all of them were used up. I wasn’t “green with envy” but “yellow with squash” for I had been brought up in the era of “waste not want not.” By the time that the next gardening season came around the trash had been removed from along the fence and I was able to rototill a garden patch that took up about one third of the back lawn. I had learned my lesson: No vined plants were to go into it. So I planted potatoes, pole beans, tomatoes and sixteen blue raspberry plants. My garden flourished.

But I wanted cucumbers as my pickle supply had run out. Then an idea hit me! “I will plant cucumber seed under the magnolia tree.” I did. Soon the little plants appeared so I put a short wire fence around them. Next I tied cords from the wire fence up to the tree limbs. It wasn’t long before I was picking English cucumbers. Then the inevitable happened. I went out one day only to see a beautiful long green cucumber at the very top of the tree, well out of my reach. I got a chair from the deck. Old ladies don’t get up on chairs so I went next door and asked Rosemary to help me. By standing on tiptoes on the chair she brought it down. For her trouble I gave it to her. This episode gave me an idea for a poem. I’m adding it for your enjoyment.

The Cuke Tree

Sliced cucumberBeneath the limbs of my magnolia tree
I planted seeds in groups of three
Soon green leaves shoved above the ground
And soon thereafter - whole plants were found
Each day they grew ever so high
I thought they were aiming to touch the sky!
Their tiny tendrils wrapped round each twig
I knew there’d be cucumbers green and big
Some friends came by and chuckled to see
Cucumbers hanging from the top of my tree
They laughed and said, “A ladder you’ll need
To pick those cukes - you will indeed”
Baskets were filled when harvest time came
Every three days it was always the same
I picked and picked and picked some more
I was ready to pitch cukes right out my back door!
But now with a sandwich and pickle you see
I enjoy winter lunches from my magnolia tree.