TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – You might have some tomatoes or peppers in your backyard, but imagine growing enough to feed your family and neighbors. That’s what one Toledo man has been doing for decades.
Harold Pflager of Toledo was born in 1933. He’ll be turning 91 this April, and still maintains three gardens! He earned his green thumb growing up on the home front during World War II.
“I was gardening when I was a kid. I had a victory garden back then, and I worked on a farm until I was 16,” Pflager said.
A few years later, he was drafted and stationed in Korea and Japan. After returning home, he got right back to gardening. To this day he grows cabbage, beets, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelons, and muskmelon. After feeding himself, he gives the rest away.
“I give them to the Epiphany Lutheran Church up here, the neighbors, and family,” Plager said. “A lot of my family have canned them and froze them and whatnot. If I had to guess, I grew enough to support probably 15 families with their groceries and vegetables for the summer.”
Pflager is a man who loves to see things grow. He and his late wife Nancy raised 4 daughters, and he now has 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren! They help out with the heavy lifting in the garden, and with this family operation, you can taste the difference.
“Mine always taste better,” Pflager said. “If you get a muskmelon from me, you’ll find it’s totally different from what you get at the store.”
For the magic touch, Pflager has a homemade compost pit, and he puts the whole property to use. He says that this trick helps keep moisture in the soil and prevents weeds from growing: “Every bit of grass that I mow goes on the gardens. Every bit of the leaves that come off of this 180 feet goes into the garden or the compost. None of it goes down the street.”
Pfleger is now working to pass his knowledge on to his descendants because he says it’s important that they know how to take care of themselves. He said it teaches the lesson of “planning ahead.”
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