Gates’ vegetable garden creates yearly tradition


Vetty Gates of Philadelphia enjoys gardening with her grandchildren. 

"We went and got some stuff at Lowe's and came back and planted it, and that was about two years ago," said Gates, of the beginning of her gardening experience with her grandchildren.

Since then, the yearly vegetable garden has become a tradition for Gates and her grandchildren. 

Gates is the mother of three children, a grandmother of six and a great-grandmother to one. 

While Gates' children were still young, she attended Carthage Beauty School College, and on the weekends, she would work at the Casino. 

Gates said she always had a passion for fixing hair and she recently celebrated 25 years with her own cosmetology business named Hair Style Unlimited. 

Gates grew up in a big family splitting chores with family members. One of those chores was cooking. Gates' mother, Louella Davis, taught her how to make Southern food, but she also followed recipes in cookbooks to learn more about cooking. 

Gates remembers watching her mother cook and learning to cook as part of one of her weekly chores. 

Now Gates is used to cooking for large crowds. On Sundays Gates prepares a big meal for the family to eat after church at Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church, where she is the financial secretary. 

Gates’ granddaughter, Cayleigh Gates, loves her grandmother's potato casserole.

Gates takes the time on weekends to relax. A couple of ways she relaxes is by baking and shopping. On Saturday morning, Gates goes shopping, and when she is done, she likes to get together with her friends and play spades and eat snacks.


1 large can of sliced peaches 

1 stick of butter 

1 cup of sugar 

1 cup of milk 

1 teaspoon of vanilla flavor 

Nutmeg and cinnamon 

I use my cast iron black skillet when I’m making this family dessert. Pour the peaches in the skillet. Slice the butter over the peaches. Sprinkle it with nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and beat well. Pour mixture of the peaches. Place in a 350 degrees oven, bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is brown. 


1 teaspoon of butter and pure vanilla flavor 

3 cups of cake flour 

2 tablespoons of self-rising flour 

3 eggs 

2 sticks of pure butter 

1 stick of margarine butter 

2 ½ cups of sugar

½ cup 7 Up Soda (You can replace the 7 Up soda with a Sprite or Mountain Dew). All are delicious! Using your mixture, cream butter and sugar together for 8 minutes. (EXACTLY). Add eggs one at a time. Add flavors and cake flours and add the soda of your choice. Beat well. Pour batter in a loaf or a Bundt cake pan that has been sprayed or floured. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 334 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle of the cake. Let it cool and enjoy. Remember to set all ingredients out at room temperature. 


5 lbs. bag of potatoes 

1 large onion 

1 ½ lbs. of ground beef 

1 bag sharp cheddar cheese 

1 large container of Sour Cream 

Peel and wash potatoes, cut in chink and boil for ten minutes or until soft. Brown ground beef and onion together. Drain the ground beef and place in a casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and seasonal salt. Just season it to your choice, I don’t measure my seasonings. Add sour cream and mix well. Fold drained potatoes in the mixture and spread evenly in the casserole dish. Sprinkle it with a bag of cheese. Bake for ten minutes or until the cheese melts. Enjoy!

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