“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV.
My Mawmaw Lat knew vegetable gardening required constant work.
She taught me how to prepare, plant, tend, harvest, and preserve the produce. We would spend hours in her kitchen every May and June canning tomatoes and beans. She grew up in a time when you grew the majority of the food you ate, and she knew the importance of the proper time for harvesting.
She taught me to look for tomatoes turning red so they would have better flavor if picked a little early. When picking summer squash, it needs to be picked before it gets too big or the skin will be tough and seeds too large.
She knew to watch the cucumbers closely so they didn’t grow too large and become bitter in flavor. Snap beans need to be picked before the beans in the pods fill out and the pods become tough.
She closely watched the red beans and horticulture beans looking for pods that were just starting to turn color and dry so the beans would be perfect for canning. She knew to look for the corn silks turning brown to know when the corn was sweetest. Mawmaw Lat knew harvest time came and went fast, so you had to be watching and ready.
After 93 years of labor, my grandmother, Leatrice Clark, left this world this past Wednesday for her heavenly home. Even after years of work (she worked until well past 90 as a volunteer with the Foster Grandparent Program) she never grew weary of doing good, knowing that one day she would be met with a reward for her faith.
I was blessed to have my grandmother for so long. She was a major influence not only in my life, but countless others over the years. I am thankful for the wisdom she passed down not only on how to garden, but on how to do good.
I have to admit, I haven’t been the most diligent in tending my garden this spring. Mawmaw would be fussing at me if she had known that. I’ll try to do better next time!
Hopefully you are staying on top of things and tending your garden. Be on the look out for ripening produce. Now is the time of year when spring harvest is nearing it peak. Harvesting produce in the morning and getting it cooled down quickly helps to preserve flavor. Processing produce for long-term storage should be done as soon as possible to maintain flavor and prevent spoilage.
Apply the lesson I learned from Mawmaw Lat, and don’t grow weary of doing good so that when the time comes you will be able to reap the harvest. I learned so much from her over the years. In a way, for someone who grew up farming and spent most of her life tending a garden, it seems only fitting for her to leave this world at this time of the year.
Clark Robertson is the assistant county agent for horticulture for Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes. For more information on these or related topics, contact Clark at (225) 686-3020 or visit www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.
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