All my life, I’ve been a farmer at heart. I recall being 8 years old at my Granny’s farm in East Texas. Me and Grampa would walk around the yard and pick up string. (I still have a ball of it) But in springtime, we’d go out by the abandoned house that was on our 54 acres and me and Grampa would build a raise bed to grow tomatoes alongside one side of the house.
This bed ran for about 20 feet and was about one foot off the ground. Grampa used the side of the house for the back side and then long boards like 1x12’s to go down the front and the ends were just built out of scrap wood. Once you get the boards up and fastened together, you attach them to the house so they’re stable, then you can start filling them with soil.
The soil on my Gran’s farm is sandy loam, so we had to add some store-bought soil to get it right for tomatoes. Once you have all soil in the bed, then fertilize it. Mix it all together and water it real good. Then the next day, you’re ready to plant your little tomato plants or seeds. If you start early enough in the season, you can get seeds to do pretty well.
Grampa put together some pieces of old window glass to make a covering for the beds. He said this would keep out insects and create a sauna-like atmosphere where the plants would grow much faster. He was right. My grandpa knew everything about farming and I was always tagging along, saying, “Grampa, why are we doing this? What’s this for?”
Glad he was patient. We grew some pretty delicious tomatoes for a few years there. They were so yummy. There are NO tomatoes today that taste as good as homegrown. Today’s tomatoes have thick skins you can’t eat, the insides taste funny…I just don’t enjoy them at all.
But If I ever buy my gran’s farm and move there, I’m going to build raised tomato beds, put glass over the tops to keep insects out and create a moist humid atmosphere. And then my tomatoes will taste like they did in the olden days. We always had such a big crops of some of the things we grew that we’d have to can them.
Granny would make jams and jellies out of the blackberries and strawberries. But she would put up the peas and tomatoes in Kerr Jars. I’ve forgotten a long time ago how to do that so I just blanch mine, then cool them and place them in freezer bags. I think they taste just as good and keep for just as long.