Grandma’s Pottage Garden

Lefty Graves
Child GardeningKelly Sikkema/Unsplash

**This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that were witnessed firsthand by me; used with permission.

While my parents and I lived in a larger town, grandma lived out in the country, and spending time with her was always high on my list of priorities. I loved being out of town and enjoyed the fresh smell of the fields and caring for the animals.

When I was a child I loved visiting my grandma and seeing her lovely pottage garden. A pottage garden is a garden that is both ornamental and productive as well. It’s spelled two different ways, “Potage” and “Pottage” depending on what area you’re from.

Grandma’s pottage garden was out her back door near the kitchen. Here you could find all of the traditional herbs that people love to cook with as well as some vegetables and berries that we often ate when we visited with grandma.

There were rows of tomatoes, marigolds (grandma always told me to plant marigolds with my tomatoes to keep the bugs out), onions, garlic, thyme, sage, oregano, carrots, peas, beans, corn, lettuce, Swiss chard, and more. Grandma also had some berries that we made into jam.

I loved to go outside and help grandma with her garden. We’d pick collard greens and fry them up for dinner with some onion and bacon. It was delicious to eat the foods from the garden and I grew to love my green vegetables while helping her weed and cultivate her garden.

I remember more than one meal where we would clean the vegetables together and prepare them for dinner. I learned many new recipes when I spent time with grandma and I credit my love for cooking to those days spent in grandma’s garden and grandma’s kitchen.

Grandma always had a lovely vegetable garden and today I’ve held to her tradition and have my garden each year. I’ve added a greenhouse and begin to plant seeds as soon as the greenhouse is warm enough to begin planting in.

My grandma raised 10 kids and I’m sure the garden started as a way to feed their children. Little did she know the love that she instilled in me for gardening and fresh vegetables, or maybe she did know that I would grow to love them and that’s why she spend hours teaching me what she knew. Maybe she just wanted some company while we weeded the garden.

Regardless, I am so glad that I was able to spend the time with her and learn about gardening. Grandma taught me how to enjoy country life and prepared me for living on the farm and working in my garden.

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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