Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Southern Gal

One of my distinctive childhood memories is shelling beans and shucking corn when my mema and pepa would go to the farms on John's Island, SC. Before farmers' markets as we know them now, people in the know would drive out to the source for those famous tomatoes.
Mema would also "put up" the most fragrant pears--something that I hope to one day replicate now that I am canning too.
So it is no surprise that some of my favorite things to grow are southern delicacies. Not only are they delicious, they perform well in the hot summers of Virginia.
The black eyed peas look freakishly healthy--so much so that I worried the soil was too rich and they'd be all leaf. This bed got a dose of Espoma organic fertilizer ("Garden-tone") when I prepared it. I definitely noticed how rich the soil appeared, compared to the clay soil in the beds I dug my first year, mere feet away. I am fairly certain my yard was farmland way back when (most likely hemp).
By July the plants had flowered just fine and have plenty of plump pods. I hope to harvest some for eating fresh this week.
The lima beans also have plenty of flowers and pods, but I am a little concerned about this leaf discoloration
My first impulse was rust, but that is just because of the color and the fact that it is a familiar bean problem. It just does not look like any of the photos of rust that I have found online, and nothing rubs off as I think it would with a fungus. So now I am thinking it is viral or bacterial, but I am not rushing to action since the plants are performing.
Okra comes in a trickle--a pod here and there until all of a sudden your freezer is full, if you're lucky.
Or course I've strayed pretty far from the south as well. I love north African cuisine, so I could not resist these Tunisian peppers:
They worked great in salsa with the cherry tomatoes that are coming fast and furious, and once dried they will eventually become harissa sauce.

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