Big Garden Was Center of Small Family Farm

Kansas woman recalls how a big garden provided food, fun, and fodder on her family farm

Content Tools

I have always liked gardening, as we all know it is hard but satisfying work. We always had a big garden because we were a big family. We also raised chickens and had a milk cow. The chickens gave us eggs and meat and the cow gave us milk and butter. We also had a timber lot behind the house with a cherry tree in it.

I think my mother was one of the best cooks a kid could have. One of my favorite meals was at harvesting time. Mom would kill a couple of chickens and fry them for Sunday dinner. She could make the best creamed peas with new potatoes and onions-nobody could match her sauce. We would have fried new wilted lettuce, green beans and anything else we had in the garden. The bread was made from scratch and the butter was also homemade. For dessert Mom would make cherry pie.

Near the end of the summer, we had grown or raised everything on the table ourselves. Mom was such a good cook that many times people would drop in on Sunday and eat with us. Somehow Mom always had enough to go around. I never knew of anyone being turned away even in the toughest of times.

Janice Gatlin
Osawatomie, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.