About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Gardening Tips from the Ford Frugalistas

Not many of us garden in a dress and high heels anymore. The fashions of the Ford Rouge housewives may not have stood the test of time, but their gardening tips still come in handy. More household hints from Cutting Corners: a 1950s-era book of household hints by wives (my mom was one), mothers, and sisters of those who worked at the Ford Rouge Plant on the banks of the Rouge River.

A helpful hint for prospective gardeners is offered by Mrs. Lawrence Janish. Her husband works in the Tool and Die plant. She says a garden rake, with two large empty thread spools attached to the teeth of the rake, makes an excellent marker for the rows.


To prevent garden tools from rusting, store them in a box in which lime has been placed, suggests Mrs. Edward Gottlin. Mrs. Gottlin's husband works in the Rolling Mill.


To keep flower pots on window sills from falling, simply place a curtain rod across the window. Paint the rod the same color as the window sill. This hint comes from Mrs. Edward Dwyer, whose husband works in the Gear and Axle plant.


A good brace for a tall-growing plant is a small extension curtain rod, writes Mrs. Elmer Boehr of Garden City. The rod can be pulled out as the plant grows. Mrs. Boehr's husband works in the Iron Foundry.


That odd cream pitcher, sugar bowl or tea pot will make an attractive flower pot and will add color to your kitchen or even your bedroom. Mrs. Lawrence Tucker, St. Clair Shores, says she has a couple around her house and they're attractive. Her husband works in the Casting Machine plant.

With all of the canning and jelly-making hints elsewhere in the book, I was surprised to see no hints for vegetable gardens. But I believe vegetable gardens were the man's domain in the fifties. At least they were at our house.

Other hints -- starting seedlings in eggshells, preserving cut flowers by adding salt to the water, using a salt shaker to sprinkle fine flower seeds -- aren't new today. But in the 1950s they were, and the Ford Frugalistas shared them generously. All hints appear here (except for the addresses) as they did in the Rouge News.

You might also like 
The Ford Housewives: The First Frugalistas
A Labor Day Tale of Two Collars
The Cherished Right to "Wote"





1 comment:

  1. Thank you to the readers of this post who have put it into the Poultry & Prose Top Ten!

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