A Garden Row

Behind my childhood home stretched a huge field that ended on the banks of a creek. Let’s call it “The Field of Dreams”. During winter my father would pore over the Burpee seed catalog with his clipboard and dream.  He sketched out rows of vegetables – old favorites and new varieties to try. In spring, a local farmer would appear on our driveway and drive his tractor around the garage into field transforming the green winter wheat into dark brown clumps of soil with lots of worms. On his return trip, he would harrow the clumps to ready the field for planting.

Then my father and his clipboard would organize his four children into a field crew. We hoed rows and planted seeds. Our reward was our very own row to plan and plant. I always chose color and drama – zinnias of all sizes, flouncy celosia, six-foot sunflowers – and exotics like Job’s tears – a grain whose pearly, gray seeds I dried and strung into seed necklaces.

One spring my father asked if I would like to try growing millet for my two parakeets. Perry and Sherry loved pecking away at the spray of millet I would hang in their cage as a special treat. The millet came in packages of three sprays. At my father’s suggestion, I scrunched a package and planted all the seeds. By fall to my astonishment, the millet section of my row had plump, waving seed heads that I harvested and hung in the garage to dry.

We never bought another package of millet. Perry and Sherry now had their own personal supplier.