“Where there is no gardener there is no garden.” -Wolfgang von Goethe .
This quote reminds me of a conversation that my grandfather and I had after we lost my grandmother. He said, “I don’t think I’ll do the garden this year. It just won’t be the same without her watching me.”
After letting him know how much I understood how he must feel. I said, “Things wouldn’t be the same without the garden being there. Continuing the garden would’ve most likely made her happy.” He just smiled and said, “Well, we’ll see how I feel.”
Growing purple sweet potatoes strengthened my relationship with my grandfather and here’s how:
From the above pictures, you can see that he continued on. They’ve cultivated that land for decades. Every year it produces fruits and vegetables bigger and better than some of our favorite grocery stores. This year the garden put out so much okra (big and small). The small okra is for boiling in the large size okra is better for chopping and fronds.
He was able to bag up so many blackberries and green beans. My aunt planted heirloom tomatoes and they were so juicy and delicious. He had bell peppers and corn. The corn didn’t do as well as he had hoped and sometimes that happens, which is okay. Of course, the purple sweet potato has reproduced itself in such an abundant way we both are just shocked. To start, I’ll prep the potato by first praying over it. Yes, I prayed over it just like any other food that has been placed before me through God‘s provisions. I asked that God bless my hands to carefully and lovingly take care of something that he blessed me with that was meant for his servant for food and that he would keep blessing it and make it grow.
Stick four toothpicks around the purple sweet potato and place it in a wide measuring cup full of spring water. I decided to use spring water due to the health benefits that it provides to us as humans. I figured if it can help us it must be good for growing plants. The results were satisfying. I put it in the window to catch direct sunlight and outside for a couple of days a week until it got too heavy for the toothpicks.
After the roots and stems got too big for my measuring cup, I realize that most things tend to outgrow their environments and it’s a good thing. Specifically, thinking of myself and my own environment. Without enough space, a living thing can’t grow to its full potential. We need to stretch. Stretch out our thoughts and bodies. Unable to grow like it was meant to, it could possibly be stunted or maybe even die. I needed to grow myself in more ways than one, specifically my thinking, a change needed to occur within.
You Can’t Skip Steps When Growing These Purple Sweet Potatoes
For me to keep moving forward with my goals a change had to occur. It was vital for me to learn new things to expand and reach an astounding outcome for my ideas. I needed to go to new places and try new things.
In my first blog article, I touched on not rushing things to grow. Between then and now this still rings true. You have to enjoy the process and you can’t skip steps. Skipped steps only manifest incomplete creations that aren’t very useful. Like a clock with one hand wouldn’t help you tell time. And a chair without a fourth leg wouldn’t be very stable.
Take Care of Your Blessings
I took all of that into consideration when planning for the health of the potato that is to honor my grandmother. A halfway taken care of sweet potato wouldn’t grow for too long and surely wouldn’t produce its full capabilities. For this process steps 1, 2, 3, and 4: pray, prepare, water, and sunlight were viable for a successful outcome. Once the potato is ready for the next steps in a new environment, I purchased the best soil that Walmart had: Miracle Grow. Next, a large pot that I would still be able to lift when it was time to take to it to my grandfather’s house. When the potato’s leaves grew over the edge of the pot I drove it down to my grandfather’s and boy was he surprised.
Harvesting the Purple Sweet Potatoes
I was hoping that I did halfway as good as he would have for its beginning stages. He was so proud. And, of course, he let me know. The soil was good and plenty enough so he planted it and it took off. When I came back he said, “That’s higher than grown crazy!” I went out there and he was right! It was all over the place and was so green and lush.
Every week I would come and pull weeds and take pictures. He showed me what to look for and how to do things to keep my garden thriving. He is such a smart and industrious man and I am so thankful to have him. We talked about life and his favorite things he used to do. Growing up in Mississippi and Chicago. Born on a plantation in Mississippi to parents who were working there after slavery as most people chose to stay for paid work. I read some poetry entries from my book that had just been published.
Each time we both shed tears. Mine were for him and my grandmother and his were for my grandmother (not just in sadness and sorrow but in comfort and release and love). I never knew the deeper things of my grandfather considering he is a very reserved individual. I’m so thankful that we had this special time together. Now it’s time to harvest the potatoes and I am beyond ecstatic to see what the results are. Keep an eye out, this story is just getting started. My goal is to continue on in my grandmother’s footsteps to use the potatoes to feed our entire family. And also provide for the community healthy plant-based options by growing purple sweet potatoes, which would be the start of Susie Mae’s purple sweet potato farm.
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