Garden Family History

I’m always interested to hear what kinds of gardens my grandparents had, so I was happy to have one of my uncles call me out of the blue to meet him for some dinner and garden talk. He had come up to the “big city” for business and had an evening free.

He went through an extensive list of vegetables grown on the family farm, along with an equally impressive list of fruits, nuts, and berries. They grew almost everything they ate, all of it canned and preserved as it was harvested.

Curiously, they didn’t grow any broccoli or cauliflower. My uncle found that a bit odd as well, and wasn’t sure why they didn’t grow these two vegetables. I know why I don’t try to grow them anymore. It’s the worms. No matter what I do (short of using chemicals), I’ve always found those little green worms on any broccoli I’ve tried to grow. And no matter how long I soak the broccoli in salt water to force the worms out of the broccoli, I still find at least one worm when I go to eat it. Gross. Just gross. So I don’t grow broccoli.

The other vegetable I was surprised that they did grow was kohlrabi. I always assumed this was something my Dad started to grow as a new vegetable to try out. Now I have to think about it differently, as an “old German vegetable” that my grandparents grew every year.

To complete the picture of the gardens, orchards, berry patches, and fields on the family farm, I need for one of my uncles or aunt or someone to draw up a diagram showing how the farm was laid out. Then I can add it to the family history. (If any of them are reading this, please have it done before Christmas. Ha Ha. Thank you.)


  1. How wonderful, that you were able to find out that kind of information about the gardens of your grandparents!

  2. It is wonderful! Your reputation as a gardener and as a family historian must be spreading.

    How cool that your family had a real farm. My grandmother grew Swiss Chard & tomatoes in her tiny city garden, but didn't have room for the big crops.

    You're in Indiana, Carol, so should know Jean Shepherd's stories - they're always eating potatoes and red cabbage in the winter. People grew things that would keep or could be preserved. Now red cabbage sounds edible, but CANNED broccoli? Yuk! No wonder your ancestors didn't grow that!

    Good luck with getting a plot drawing - it sounds like a fun project.


  3. I tried growing Kohlrabi one year. After it grew, I had no idea what to do with it. I think it just rotted away and added to the compost of the garden. Sigh....

    What kind of nuts did they grow?

  4. We've grown so many vegetables on our dairy farm (no longer a working farm) over the years. My reason for discontinuing the growing of broccoli is exactly the same as yours. There was always a left-over worm no matter how thorough I was with the washing! Our kids were not alone in their disgust at finding one on their cooked broccoli. Yuk!

  5. Carol, your father grew brocolli too and I also had worm problems. Also, remember he liked to go mushroom hunting for morels. He would bring a bunch home and I would soak them in salt water till they would almost fall apart, but they still had worms. I would batter them & fry them up and he would still eat them. He said he was getting extra protein.

  6. Do you mean to tell me that I ate worms when I ate Dad's mushrooms? It's a good thing you didn't tell us then.

  7. Ack, we ate worms! I hope the family doesn't get a reputation over that.

    Thanks all for the very nice comments.

  8. OK. Now that is just gross!

  9. For an organic solution to broccoli worms, check out a poduct called Mothblocker. You can find it with a Google search.


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