My earliest memory of the Daddy's vegetable garden was floating a pea pod in the water rushing down one of the narrow vegetable ditches. I was about four years old. I remember the garden being tall, green, and wild-like.
Every year, the Daddy put up a vegetable garden for the family, growing many Filipino vegetables that we couldn't buy in the grocery store. We ate a lot of long beans, bitter melon, Japanese eggplants, tabongaw (a type of gourd), Kabocha squash, saloyat (okra leaves), parda (a hairy, bigger, and thicker pea), and kabatiti (a kind of squash with ridges) during the summers. Also into the winters, after the parents bought a big freezer.
When the Daddy came home from a long day of irrigating vegetable fields, he went straight to the garden to see what needed tending. The Mama went into the garden to harvest vegetables for the evening's meal. The Daddy was always getting after the Mama for picking the bitter melon leaves from the top rather than the bottom. Guess who tells me not to pick the bitter melon leaves from the top?
The Mama continued growing vegetables after the Daddy died. It was tough, as she was still working. I suppose being in the garden helped her deal with being a widow.
Today, as some of you know, the Mama works a few hours hours nearly every day in her vegetable garden. Along with the Filipino vegetables, the Mama plants green beans, peppers, tomatoes, chives, and Filipino green onions. Her garden doesn't yield as much as it used to, which is fine with me. There's only so much bitter melon I can eat. The Husband won't eat it and the Mama eats only a bit of it.
Growing vegetables is a fun challenge for the Mama. Her satisfaction comes from seeing other people eat the fruits of her labor.
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