July 1, 2011

Vegetable Bed Progress

A lot has changed in the vegetable bed over the past month.  The lemongrass is going absolutely bananas.  The tomatoes are nearly to the top of the fence.  The variegated basil is chuggin' along with no immediate sign of bolting.  The chives are doing well.  I've lost a couple petunias and marigolds to shade, but there are still a few stickin' 'round.  And thanks to my neighbor, the wine bottle border is slowly being completed.

My neighbor doesn't drink that much so it really is slow going.

I still can't get over the tomato vines still producing when the highs are in the 100s, but I can't really complain especially since I'm still only watering twice a week.


I also have some Hill Country Red Okra growing quite enthusiastically.

Patch of Okra

I haven't seen the blooms, but being in the mallow family, I expect they will be gorgeous.  However, the leaves and stems are very attractive on their own.  Even if I didn't like okra, I would probably grow this plant for its ornamental value.

Burgundy Stems of Hill Country Red Okra Plant

Red Venation on a Hill Country Red Okra Leaf

The stems and veins are a gorgeous burgundy color, and the fruit is supposed to be the same.  This variety is an heirloom in this area, and it's supposed to produce okra good for pickling which is fine by me since I love pickled okra!  And speaking of pickling and tomatoes, my SO and I pickled some green tomatoes a few weeks ago.

Homemade Pickled Green Tomatoes

I'm incredibly pleased with how pretty both of them look.  It's really hard to do pickled green tomatoes in a way that keeps the jar lookin' attractive.  I sliced 3 whole tomatoes and assembled the slices back into a tomato inside the jar which took some maneuvering and some stuffing to ensure there weren't any floaters - all the tomatoes were larger than the mouth of the jar.  A couple of the slices came dislodged in the process, but I think the overall effect is quite nice.  The larger jar is for general eatin', but the small jar is for drunken dares since it contains the bottom of the pickling juice left over from the big one...  I'm skeered to crack open that one.

But speaking of tomatoes and canning...

My husband and I peeled, quartered, and canned the bucket of tomatoes last night.  I was impressed with how quickly it went, and the tomatoes were juicy enough that only a tiny bit of water was necessary to top off the jars.  These are all Phoenix tomatoes which don't have a lot of seeds, so we didn't bother deseeding.  The fresh flavor of these is meh...  But maybe they'll improve with cooking.  I'll probably throw them in my super easy chili.

I also recently planted some very old Star of David okra and some red corn, but I'm not sure if they'll grow at all.  However, it's not like they might grow next year any better because, ya, my eyes are bigger than my garden when it comes to seed.  I have a box of seed that I need get in the ground this year or just completely forget about saving any further.  I'm taking it as a lesson learned.

I hope everyone state-side is gearing up for the extended weekend with great plans afoot!  Have a good one and be safe on your travels!


  1. I just love my okra plants, and have always wanted to try a red variety! The flowers are so beautiful...I hope you will show what these will look like (if different from the other varieties), when you get some!!! Have a fun 4th of July weekend!!!

  2. Okra rocks! love the plant, love teh veggie! Can't wait to see your red one. Happy weekend.

  3. Wow! I am amazed by the neat arrangement of your pickled green tomatoes. I have tried pickled tomatoes before. But I think it will taste good. I love anything that's cooked with tomatoes ;-) Btw, it's so good that you need not water the plant so much. Yeah don't complain ;-) Over here, I have to water my plants everyday!

  4. Julie - To be honest, I haven't seen an okra bloom in person (shhhhhhhh), so I'll probably post a pic regardless. :)

    webb - Indeed! Okra is awesome!

    Steph - Thanks! I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes the pickled green tomatoes. And I'm certainly not complaining about the watering requirements in the vegetable bed. I'm more shocked than anything!


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