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Friday, July 29, 2005

The Tastes of Life...

A plate full of fried okra, vine ripe sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh peppers is a perfect meal for me. Summer has so many good things to offer. I was so thankful when my neighbor, Sue, invited me to share her garden spot with her this year. Her son-in-law, Lynn, volunteered to do the tilling of the soil. Aren’t good neighbors just wonderful?

It has been a very long time since I have had a proper vegetable garden. The backyard flower bed just hasn’t cut it these last several years. Too much shade. There have been a few glitches with my garden though. All hasn’t been absolutely perfect. Everybody has problems here and there. For instance, the birds like to take bites out of my ripening tomatoes but I am ever so thankful that the dogs don’t eat them like Linda’s dog does. Linda lives on the north side of me. Linda says that she has to pull her tomatoes green because her dog picks them and will eat them all! Right off the vine!

The spider mites always hit when the weather gets hot and dry. The only thing that I have found to work very well is to spray my plants with copious amounts of water. I use the water hose and a spray nozzle and hit them pretty hard with a blast of water all over and under the leaves. This is about the most effective method that I have found to control the little buggers. I have tried commercial insecticides specifically labeled for spider mites to no avail.

I did have a disappointing surprise among my plants though. I had purchased a bell pepper plant along with my tomato plants. But, to my dismay, someone had thought it funny to switch the tags in the pot and my bell pepper plant turned out to be a jalapeno plant. *sigh* I am not a great fan of jalapeno peppers. While I will eat jalapenos on occasion, I definitely do not have the stomach for the prolific proffering that that this little plant has given me this summer. And wouldn’t you know it, not a bug, hazard, or calamity has come its way. I didn’t have the heart to murder it and let it die from lack of water. Consequently, I had a kitchen counter full of the emerald green fruits and couldn’t eat them all or give enough of them away. Thank goodness that Sue’s pastor is a fan of the jalapenos. I sure hope that he can eat jalapenos the rest of this season.

There is always a curve being thrown my way it seems, and I always do my best to try to make ‘lemonade out of lemons’. I experimented a bit with the jalapenos and I have discovered that if you slice them up and bread them with the okra, fry it up all together, that it does make a tasty little twist to the traditional skillet of fried okra. The jalapeno pepper is not so hot when it is fried and there is a pleasant taste added to the okra.

Now I am diligently hunting for some zucchini squash seed so that I can have a fall garden. Sue and I can’t find any anywhere. I have made a phone call to my mother in Texas. Moms always have everything you need. She has some seed leftover and she said that she would mail me some. Oh how I am enjoying the fruits of this season! And I am diligently praying that I am afforded the same wonderful opportunity next summer.



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