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Gerald Ogan is a collector and gardener. He planted 500 tomato plants and hundreds of pepper and cabbage plants, all for the fun of gardening and growing things.

THB photo
The Herald Bulletin

FRANKTON — Gerald Ogan’s garden may produce close to two tons of tomatoes this year.

But his garden isn’t like everyone else’s in the neighborhood. He has three patches, surrounded by antique farm equipment, sawmill blades and windmills. He planted 400 tomato plants last year that produced 3,000 pounds. This year he planted 500 plants. He’s not in it for the money.

“I pretty much give them away, four pounds for a dollar,” said the 65-year-old Ogan. “We sell them out front in the yard.”

He works at Delphi and spends his free time gardening. Neither he nor his wife can any of the tomatoes. But it’s good exercise. The plants are large. He said that’s because he uses Miracle Grow and sprays something on them to make them set tomatoes sooner than most.

He waved his hand across the sea of farm equipment and saws between his house and the garden patches.

“This all used to be roses,” Ogan said. “At one time I had 1,200 rose plants. I showed roses. Quit that in ’75.”

He also has 300 more plants, a combination of different peppers and cabbages. He’ll sell much of what they produce, but he does make some sauerkraut.

“Three years ago I made 165 pounds of sauerkraut,” he said.

When Ogan wants to do something, he goes all out. Inside his house a shelf is stacked with trophies.

“I used to have a horse color guard and rode in the Anderson parades and I think maybe all the parades in the state except for one,” Ogan said.

Strung on nails and across rafters in his garage is a collection of leather harnesses, halters and brass fittings for horses. In another area, hand saws and tools hang overhead from pegs and nails. In the back, a large case holds more than 100 glass milk bottles from area dairies.

“I’ve collected for years,” he said. “It’s just something I do I guess. I’ve got over 350 saws.”

Around a corner he points to a glass show case. Inside are newspapers. On top is a 1931 Anderson Herald. He points to stacks of items on the far wall

“There’s something you don’t see everyday,” Ogan said. He pulled a newspaper back to reveal a long wicker basket with a lid and handles. “It’s a wicker casket. They called them pick-up baskets. Someone died, they went and picked them up in this.”

His wife, Lois, 68, said he gets most of his things from sales early on Saturday mornings. She doesn’t like to go to the sales and said it’s something he does as a hobby.

“Some of the stuff I like, some of the stuff I don’t like,” Lois said.

In the living room, above the doorway, she pointed to a picture of a log cabin. She grew up in the cabin in Missouri after her mother died.

“I grew up with all this old stuff. You can see why maybe I don’t like some of it. I had to use most of it,” Lois said smiling. “I kind of like the new.”

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