“My corn isn’t ripe yet,” said Hal. “The ears are awful little.”
“No, you must wait a while about your corn. But Mother’s carrots are ready to pull, and she has more than we will need over Winter. You may sell some of those, Hal.”
“Oh, won’t it be fun—having a real store!” cried the little boy. “Come on, Mab, we’ll get ready! I’m going to pull the carrots.”
“And I’ll pull the beans!” cried Mab. “Will you get the tomatoes, Daddy?”
“Yes, but you had better let me show you a little bit about getting the things ready for your market store. The nicer your vegetables look, and the more tastefully you set them out, the more quickly will people stop to look at them and buy them. Wise gardeners and store-keepers know this and it is a good thing to learn.”
So Daddy Blake first showed Mab how to pick her string beans, taking off only those of full size, leaving the small to grow larger, when there would be more to eat in each pod. The beans were kept up off the ground with strings running to sticks at the of each row.
“If the beans touch the ground they not only get dirty,” Mr. Blake, “but they often are covered with brown, rusty spots and they soon rot. Persons like to buy nice, clean beans, free from dirt. So have yours that way, Mab.”
Mab put the beans site picked into clean strawberry boxes, and set them in the shade out of the sun until it was time to open the store on the lawn near the street.
Hal’s father showed how to pull from the brown earth the yellow carrots from Mother Blake’s part of the garden. Only carrots of good size were pulled, the small ones being left to grow larger. The carrots were tied in bunches of six each, and the bright yellow, pointed bottoms, with the green tops, made a pretty picture as they were laid in a pile in the shade.
“Now I’ll pick some tomatoes and your garden store will be ready for customers,” said Daddy Blake.
His vines were laden with ripe, red tomatoes and these were carefully picked and placed in strawberry boxes also, a few being set aside for lunch, as was done with Mab’s beans and Mother Blake’s carrots.
A little later Hal and Mab took their places behind a broad wooden counter, placed on two boxes out in front of their house. On the board were set the boxes of red tomatoes, those of the green and yellow string beans and the pile of yellow carrots.
“Now you are all ready for your customers,” said Daddy Blake, as he helped the children put the last touches to their vegetable store.
“Oh, I wonder if we’ll sell anything?” spoke Mab, eagerly.
“I hope so,” answered Hal. “Oh, Look! Here comes a big automobile with two ladies in it, and they’re steering right toward us!”
“I hope they don’t upset our counter,” said Mab slowly, as she watched the big auto approach.