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Mom could grow anything with her green thumb, steele county times, minnesota
Mom could grow anything with her green thumb
Howard Lestrud, Contributing Writer

Mom was a true farm wife, always trying to please her husband and their three children.

As we enter the growing season, I remember my mother Alma being someone who could make anything grow. She had that consummate green thumb.

My parents were both farmers. I always said my dad was a hard worker, but I don't think he would have quarreled with me in saying Mom one upped him.

She loved to cook, bake, paint and teach. She attended Albert Lea High School and wrote the school song. She was a graduate of the Mankato State Teachers College. Her first teaching job was at a rural school near Oakland, Minn.

Mom especially loved to garden and she would always be on her knees, or bent over, weeding her large garden. Her garden was located close to our barn, thus there was a fertilizer resource always available to us.

Mom's garden contained just about everything. She grew onions, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, brussel sprouts, green beans, beets, kalorabi, corn, turnips, cabbage, green peppers and almost every vegetable imaginable. She also loved to grow muskmelons.

Mom was an avid canner, spending much of her summertime hours filling her canning shelves in the basement.

There was hardly a weed in her garden. I helped her with the weeding on occasion but at a young age, I didn't know the difference between a green onion and a green weed.

I thought I was going to be like my mom and have my own garden. Needless to say, the only reason I had some success with the garden was because of my tutelage from mom.

We also had a strawberry patch and raspberry bushes. I remember my mom having marks on her arms from picking raspberries. She also picked up a rash that caused her considerable pain. That didn't stop her from still working in her garden.

My mom's garden was very similar to one Ron Nelson has on his farm just northwest of Blooming Prairie. He also has a green thumb and can grow anything imaginable.

Mom loved to share the vegetables and fruits she grew. And, of course, we ate healthy foods.

My dad stayed out of mom's garden. He only helped her get her garden planted by providing her with some rich fertilizer available from our dairy cows.


I can still see mom wielding a hoe with a cracked handle. It still worked for her. She also was not afraid to go to her knees and clean out her garden of those pesky weeds.

Mom also grew flowers and planted them in front of our farm house. She also decorated her parents' graves in an Albert Lea cemetery with flowers she had grown.

Our farm was located on Highway 251, two miles west of Corning. Every time we pass by our former farm, I think of mom's garden located near our barn, which is still standing.

Thanks for the memories, mom. And, thank you for supplying our family with lots of nutrition.

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