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Entries in garden (2)

Thursday
Feb042016

The Bee-Friendly Garden

Such a thoughtful book!  I have enjoyed reading this book over the past several nights and have gone to bed dreaming of brightly-colored flowers adorning my garden.  Alas, the current plants that I have are not bee friendly.  I’m not overly fond of these plants and they were already in the ground when I moved into my home.  So, the big question is….”do I rip them out?”  They are, after all, hiding my hydrangeas, which are bee friendly.  I just might.  I have thought about it so so many times but this book gives me the reason to rip!  I like the sounds of bees buzzing around – it sounds like summer to me.  I believe  there is nothing better than stretching out on my front porch swing, lazily swinging to and fro, while sipping an iced-tea (sweetened – this is the South) and listening to the sounds of summer.

The Bee-Friendly Garden provided me insight on those that are the optimal flowers to plant…the ones that will make all of the bees happy.  The book also taught me a lot about the many types of bees, their happiness, the need for bees, and the need for us to be friendly to bees.  The book is a great little bit, so insightful and will make you wonderlust for beautiful plush gardens right outside of your door.

Saturday
Jul232011

A Southern Garden

A high-school friend of mine posted a comment on her facebook page that I believe sums up living in the great state of North Carolina quite well:

I was raised in North Carolina where summer starts in April; we don’t have fireflies – we have lightning bugs; Macaroni & Cheese is a vegetable and pecan pie is a staple; y’all is a proper pronoun; chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy; sweet tea is the house wine; and, everyone is darling and someone is always getting their hearts blessed.

One thing my friend forgot to mention – the heat of summer.  The heat index today is 113 degrees farenheit.  The humidity is so thick in the air that I can reach out and scoop a handful and hold it in my hand.  This same humidity slicks my skin wet the second that I walk outside (it also works to keep my skin’s healthful glow  ;)  ).  I was born in North Carolina and I love this weather.  I love walking outside at night with the smell of honeysuckle in the air and a light breeze brushing my skin, looking up at the stars, watching the lightning bugs and trying to anticipate where they will glow next.   When I was a little girl, I would catch the lightning bugs so that I could trap them in a jar (my mommy had punched holes in the lid for air) and I would plop in the grass and watch the translucent glow.  Did you know that if you get the ‘lightning’ on your skin it will burn you?  Just an odd little tidbit for you…

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before or not, but this past March, MB and I obtained a plot in a community garden at a local park.  We have a 10 X 20 plot, so just 200 sq. feet.  But, being the CPA, I planted this plot to obtain maximum yield.  Due to the heat of summer, it is no longer the prettiest garden in the park (in fact, it looks downright pitiful), but I can just about guarantee you, that our garden produces more than the other gardens.  We seem to walk away from the garden with two buckets full every time we pick. MB and I have planted:  16 varieties of tomatoes, 5 varieties of peppers, dill, 3 varieties of lettuce, 2 varieties of squash, 2 varieties of cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, 4 varieties of beans, okra (yuck – for MB), parsley, red and white onion, cilantro, and radish.  Just last weekend, I picked over one hundred tomatoes.  The lettuce, radishes, and cilantro are long gone – it’s just too hot for them now.   It’s funny how everything seems to ripen at the same time even though I planted in stages just to prevent this from happening.  And then the struggle comes – what to do with everything???  I have six or seven large jars of (fantastic) refrigerator pickles in the fridge, we have probably given away ten large bags of fresh vegs to our friends and neighbors, I have dried probably 40 or 50 Roma tomatoes so that we’ll have sun-dried tomatoes in our pastas and pizza this winter.  And my dining room table is still completely covered this morning with various tomatoes, cukes, squash and peppers.  I know it’s a good problem to have and I want to try to capture everything and ‘put it up’ so that we’ll have our food this winter.  I would like nothing better than to never have to buy a vege from a long distance again. And we all know that nothing tastes as good as when it comes fresh from a local garden.

Needless to say, our dinners are crammed with fresh veges.  One of our favorites has been a simple tomato salad that really brings out the taste of the different tomatoes.

Tomato Salad

Thinly slice 4 tomatoes of differing varieties (I use Better Boy, Cherokee purple, green zebra and tigerella) and spread on a platter

Sprinkle with kosher salt

Thinly slice a small sweet onion and scatter on top of the tomatoes

Sprinkle the onion with kosher salt

Finely dice a hot chili pepper and scatter (I use a Thai hot chili pepper)

Finely dice some fresh oregano and chiffonade a couple of fresh basil leaves and scatter

Lightly pour extra virgin olive oil across the above

Lightly dash red wine vinegar across the above

Let sit for approximately 15 minutes before eating so that the flavors can meld together.

 

Another simple dish that I really enjoy is a cuke salad.

Peel and de-seed 2 cukes and chop them into small pieces.

Salt liberally with kosher salt.

Finely dice a hot chili pepper

Squeeze the juice of one lime over

Let sit for approximately 15 minutes before eating so that the flavors can meld together.

I hope you enjoy these.  If you have any great ideas for veges, PLEASE, let me know!

p.s. You can click any of the pics below to make them bigger.

 Pickles made from cucumbers out of our gardenAn example of how much stuff we're getting from the gardenThe tomato salad mentioned above