Illustrated by Alec Gillman
Four Winds, 1997
About the Book
The Green Truck Garden Giveaway tells the tale of two strangers — Hastings and Lura — who drive a green truck down Second Street and offer to give away gardens. Though the neighbors are not very interested in gardening, Hastings and Lura convince Freddy Junior to plant pumpkins; Aunt Olive to plant lettuce, marigolds, carrots, and tomatoes in “bucket gardens,” and McDermitt to grow thorn brushes and brambles.
As the summer progresses Freddie pulls the weeds around his pumpkins and builds a noisemaker to keep cats away. He picks off the bugs and sprays the plants with a dishwater bath. Aunt Olive grows flowers and enough salad vegetables to share in her bucket gardens. Even the neighborhood grouch McDermitt is surprised by his patch of thornbushes and brambles.
This book’s almanac entries will help you grow bucket gardens or butterfly gardens and tell you the history of some vegetables. The almanac also has recipes for a tasty drink called “Green Truck Midsummer Tonic,” salsa, and raspberry muffins.
If you want to try gardening all you need are:
- Have an adult help you make a couple of holes in the bottom of your container.
- Seeds (marigolds are pretty and easy to grow)
- Some good fresh soil.
- A plant pot, small bucket or empty can.
- A sunny spot on a porch or by a window
To get started:
- Fill your container with soil.
- Place several seeds on top of the soil and cover with 1/4 inch more of soil.
- Water lightly and wait.
- Water lightly every other day so the soil is moist but not muddy.
- When your marigolds start to grow thin them (take out some the plants so the plants are about 3 inches apart in your container. You can place them outside.
- Place the plants on a porch or back stoop, or keep them in the sunny window.
- Water your plants when the soil is dry and fertilize every three weeks with a plant food mixed with two times as much water as the directions (on the plant food container.
Making Green Truck Midsummer Tonic
If you get thirsty while tending your plants ask an adult to help you make Green Truck Midsummer Tonic. The recipe is in the book but here it is too.
- 1 lime
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 quarts boiling water
- Wash the lemon and lime and cut into small pieces or thin slices.
- Put the pieces into a bowl with the sugar and cream of tartar. Add the 2 quarts of boiling water to the mixture and stir well.
- Cover the bowl and leave it to cool.
- To serve, pour tonic into glasses along with fruit. Add ice and share with friends.
If you decide you want to know more about gardening you might want to check out the Texas A & M’s Horticultural site. Another site which provides a lot of information about urban food production is the City Farmer site maintained by a non-profit organization in British Columbia.