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One of the most powerful gardening experiences is eating what you grow. While it is a powerful experience indeed, being southern makes it a cultural expectation. This notion was so brilliantly articulated from the character “Ouiser” played by Shirley MacLaine in the movie “Steel Magnolias”when she shares this cultural expectation involving growing tomatoes. “Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt.”
So here is what i just planted:
Tomatoes galore. From cherry variety Sweet Chelsea to grape variety Red Jelly Bean to giant Goliaths. I foresee salads, bruschetta and tomato sandwiches.
Summer Squash and Zucchini. A staple for any southern summer vegetable garden. Yum…sauteed squash and onions, squash casserole and zucchini bread.
Cool Cucumbers. I went with the burpless and have both a pickling kind and salad slicer. I need to go to a nursery and see if I can get my hands on this lemon cucumber I have heard rave reviews about. Let’s see…images of old fashion cucumbers and vinegar and dill pickles come to mind.
A new one, eggplant. I have never grown this one, but thought I would give it a whirl. I got the japanese variety so wish me luck. Don’t have a prep plan for those yet…but have some time to research.
Finally a showcase of herbs…basil, italian parsley, cilantro, dill, thyme and sage…this rounds out my culinary planting for now.
What’s in your edible garden? Any must plants I need to add…I still have a little space left.
If you want to get more from your flowers, grab the clippers, go out and DEADHEAD every few days. Cutting off spent blossoms not only make plants look better–in many cases it will extend their blooming season…often all summer.
But deadheading only works some of the time–
Sometimes flowering can’t be extended–especailly in our Southern heat. The daylily season is fairly fixed. The foxgloves and hollyhocks bloom and die. And there’s no way to get more color from the winter annuals I’m so fond of once they’ve decided it’s just too darn hot. I pull up them up and compost– But I always leave one or two plants so they can GO TO SEED.
Going to seed is good is the garden–the only way to keep some of my very best plants–my unusual red poppies, my very deep blue larkspur–my cherry/plum tomatoes which are so plentiful, tough and unique.
All of these plants are HEIRLOOMS. Theyt have not been hybiridized or improved by breeders and scientists. These open-pollentated plants come true from seed.
And heirlooms are back in fashion–big time. $5.99 a pound for the heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods. And they sell.
Just last week my friend and gardening buddy, Robert brought over a box of the best cucumbers I’ve every eaten–his Heirloom White Cucumbers from the mountians. Delicious.
Here (by request from my lunch guests, Kristen and Delaney) is a link to the salad I made with these wonderful fresh, old-fashioned vegetables. http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=226560 Note: Instead of the peanuts, I added some Polli Spicy Peppers and Garlic, an Italian product that I buy at Capri Flavors and can’t live without.