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Renowned veggie gardener celebrates her 88th with gusto

Vi Henderson’s credo: If it’s not a Ford or a John Deere, quietly get it away from here. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Vi Henderson, known for her massive veggie garden on County 20, was headed off to Dorset with her 91-year-old neighbor to celebrate Thursday night.

Her handmade sign, “If you rest, you rust,” included 88 in large numerals, denoting another birthday.

This was a wardrobe accessory.

“The trouble is, people dwell on age,” she said. “You have to keep moving and have fun.”

The octogenarian has been tending the garden at the location for more than 30 years. And this year, although the season’s late, is no exception.

Potatoes, peas, spinach, kale, romaine, onions – red and yellow – and broccoli are in, she reports, with sweet corn, beets, carrots and tomatoes yet to come.

While in Texas, she canned 445 quarts of grapefruit juice. “Who loads this?” her contemporaries asked.

“I do!” was her brusque reply and she set off on the first leg of her journey – an 843-mile stretch.

A bout with Lyme disease last summer set her back for a few days, but she’s still dancing (219 dances in 149 days) and bowling (every Friday morning) ­ until she heads back to her garden.