Salad Lover !!

Large saladOil and vinegar


It takes an hour (+/-) to prepare my salad and an hour (+/-) to eat it!! Homegrown tomatoes, lettuce variety, cucumber, and bell pepper. Usually (but not today) shredded cabbage, radish, green onion, Alfalfa sprouts, Nasturtium leaves and flowers. I include organic eggs from range chickens (two boiled eggs), a handful of Craisins, a sprinkle of raw Sunflower seeds, fresh ground Flax seeds, and add organic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Italy) and Gourmet Lovers Evoo Extra Virgin Olive Oil .~~ Oh so good!!

The Magic of Heirlooms

Reap the many benefits of timeless region-specific veggies, by Heather Lamb, in Birds & Blooms, June/July 2016, pp. 28-31.

Challenging climates have nothing on heirlooms. These classic open-pollinated plants not only connect us to the long history of gardening because of their age. Over time, they’ve adapted to local conditions, making them solid choices for your backyard. Gardeners should select heirloom varieties from their region or an area with similar conditions to get the most out of the plants.

Heirloom Basics

Tor Janson, collection curator for the nonprofit Seed Savers Exchange (, compares these plants to family keepsakes because the seeds are passed down through generations. Heirlooms are open-pollinated, which means they are pollinated naturally by insects, birds, humans and the wind. They also self-and-cross-pollinate.

The seeds usually stay true to type over time. This makes their behavior in the garden easier to predict than that of hybrids, which are the result of cross-breeding of two varieties. Hybrids rarely stay true in successive generations.

“Generally, heirloom varieties that have been grown over generations in a particular area tend to work well their,” Janson says.

The Hot and Humid Southeast

Long growing seasons with high heat and humidity are hard on a lot of vegetables. “Many crops can’t cope,” says Randel Agrella, seed production manager for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( Selecting the right plants is one way to deal with the heat, but Agrella also suggests gardening from fall to spring instead of during the summer.

Switching the growing season will have the most impact on tomatoes, a crop affected by sustained high temperatures. Agrella recommends eastern European tomato varieties, which develop full flavor in cool weather, for late-summer planting. For spring planting, try southern European types that ripen in the heat.

Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange ( an heirloom resource for Southern gardeners, says smaller tomato varieties tend to be less demanding and better withstand high heat. Wallace particularly like Cherokee Purple tomatoes, which the company introduced to the seed-buying market.

Beyond tomatoes, there’s a wealth of veggies that thrive in the heat and humidity of the Southeast, including okra, watermelon, pole beans, collards and bell peppers.

Veggie picks by Climate

Hot and Humid, Tomatoes: Late-summer planting: Belarusian Heart, Black Prince, Brave General, Emerald Apple, Mushroom Basket, Stupice; spring: Comstock Sauce ‘n Slice, Costoluto Genovese, Cour di Bue, Pantano Romanesco; summer: Bonny Best, Cherokee Purple, Eva Purple Bell, Placero.

Buying Heirloom Seeds

Many seed companies and seed banks specialize in heirloom and open-pollinated seeds. When buying, look for sources that support the mission of seed saving or those that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge from the Council for Responsible Genetics.

Tomato with two thumbs up


Lorraine here to say that other regions were documented. Because I live in Southeast Texas, I focused on that information. ~~ Frankly, I did not recognize the names of many varieties.

See my other blog messages: Growing Tomatoes from Seed to Harvest and A peek at my tomato garden. Below: A current “peek” at my plants.


Look closeLots of tomatoes

Nothing ventured, nothing gained !!

This link to Friday the 13th post about A peek at my tomato garden.

Here’s an item I admirebut can’t afford!! So I work with “stuff” already in my possession.

It is a gamble; will the burlap bag planter survive another season?? Last year, the tomato plant suffered and died!! This year, I have lots of tomato seeds and need several planters. I’m starting this message on March 18th and will take pictures as time passes.

Picture, top left: The planter in 2015.

Burlap planter in 2015Repaired handle


Caster dolly attached to burlap planterStyrofoam "peanuts" in the bottom


Adding soil to tomato planterSeeds planted


Two tiny sproutsTomato plant in burlap planter


Displaying growth on May 22Lots of blooms


Above: Look how much it grew in nine days. Furthermore, consider the growth in just two months.


Wilted tomato plant June 17th: The thermometer registered ninety-seven degrees when I took this picture. However, the “feels like” temperature is a minimum of ten degrees higher!! Fingers crossedThe plant is wilted and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will survive. ~~ Exactly three months since I planted the seeds.


Despite the heat, plant is doing wellTomato plant in early September<<< July 5th: It’s looking good–despite the blistering heat!! Sept. 5th: This… has fought a good fight and won the battle. The best choice (imho) for my area. >>>


Wonder Woman’s Weapons from the World Wide Web!!

Last year, I had a recipe (or two) for natural insect spray. I misplaced… so started a new search. Because the suggestion sounded familiar, I prepared the first container with one quart of filtered water and one-and-one-half teaspoons of Dawn dish washing detergent. I went to war on the aphids and other insects on my flowers and veggies!! (In blistering Texas heat, I went against the enemy.)

Back indoors, I searched the W.W.W. for additional information because I have a bar of Fels-Naptha soap (from last year’s DIY). I found sites that caution against Dawn detergent. and thought “that makes sense.” (I haven’t found an answer to Fels-Naptha yet.)

I should have saved a link to the web site 😦 but jotted the information and made the concoction. One quart of filtered water (my preference) and two tablespoons of Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap (available in health food stores [and I have in my cupboard] ). The Internet article had this additional suggestion: Add strong-smelling spices (garlic, onions, horseradish, ginger, rhubarb leaves, cayenne, other hot peppers). Handful of spices with enough boiling water to cover. Store overnight in glass jar with tight lid, strain, and add to soap mix. (I used a couple heads of garlic.)

Natural ingredients spray