Tomatoes

Several hills of tomato plants at the Bruton Farm in the Conway area.

There’s just something about planting a seed in the ground and then seeing the itty-bitty leaves and stem begin to push through the dirt that makes my heart happy.

Watermelon. Tomatoes. Beets. Squash. Sunflowers. Carrots. Peppers.

You name it, we have planted it.

Pretty soon — if we are blessed with plenty of sunshine and rain — I’m going to have zucchini and corn coming out of my ears.

We might have to start a produce stand.

It’s a year of many firsts: My first big garden, first time living in the country full time, and the first planting season without my Papa.

After my grandma died in 2017, I started baking her famous pound cakes in her old mixer that was handed down to me. Now, it’s time for me to do something in honor of my Papa. So it’s my mission to make him proud through having a beautiful and plentiful garden.

Of course I couldn’t have planted the garden without the help of our next-door neighbor Mr. Larry. He’s teaching me the lessons my grandfather ran out of time to teach, like waiting until after Good Friday to plant and don’t plant your seeds too deep.

Riding my late grandfather’s Massey Ferguson, he made my six rows and helped me plant each seed and seedling.

I know my grandfather is smiling down from heaven. I sure was smiling seeing that tractor go back and forth — a tractor I helped my Papa hunt down on Craigslist years ago.

The difference between Mr. Larry and my Papa is that Mr. Larry gets on the row right alongside you and works, but Papa would be sitting in his red truck hollering out what we needed to be doing. And he sure wouldn’t hesitate to let us know we weren’t doing it right.

I suppose after all of his years of hard work in the field he earned the authority and respect to sit in the cool truck, with a cheek-full of tobacco. He knew his field and what worked best.

I’ve already heard from a couple of neighbors that my tomato plants are the prettiest on our whole road.

And I just have to giggle because I know — even from heaven — Papa is still looking out for his field.

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