Gypsy's Travels

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Grapes, Tomatoes, and Okra

I have about 3 gallons of grape juice in my fridge! I stewed all those grapes, in two different batches, last night, strained them, and refrigerated the juice. E had been begging me to add some sugar to some juice for her to drink, so I tried it. There was only a small amount of juice and it must have taken an equal amount of sugar to make it palatable. She was excited that it worked. Fancy that, grape juice does not just come in a box that has a straw attached to the side.

I stopped by my plot in the community garden on the way home from running errands. This community garden has been built from the ground up by peolple who live here in Sun City Texas. In case you don't know, Sun City Texas is a retirement community. The word "retirement" is relative. This is one of the most active communities I have ever seen. Most of the gardeners prefer the word "bed" to "plot", but that might be because they are closer to one than the other.
Anyway, my plot is growing very well. At least the okra is almost as high as the proverbial elephant's eye. Not too much okra, but there are some fantastic plants. I had hoped that planting tomatoes in the center and okra around would shield the tomatoes from some of the sun. The okra is doing its job too well. I planted tomatoes 3 times! The first planting was started from common seed from a package, carefully tended in a starter pan but the late freeze got it. The second planting was, again, culivated with loving care in the starter pan with special heritage tomato seeds. I was really looking forward to growing some of these and taste-testing them. Unfortunately, I rushed them into the open ground too soon because I was leaving town and was afraid they wouldn't survive my absence. They didn't survive it anyway. My third attempt has produced fruit, though it is not ripe yet. These plants were bought from the local Wal-mart for $2.99 each. I wonder if I would have a plethora of tomatoes if I had planted these in the first place.
My original plan called for tomatoes in cages in the middle of the plot with cucumbers vining up the sides of the cages. These would be surrounded by the okra and, underneath it all, zuchinni plants.I have been trimming dinner-plate size okra leaves to let the sun shine in.

Every year I promise myself I won't plant tomatoes because I seldom have a harvest and certainly don't have enough harvest to justify my time and effort. Every year I plant them anyway. I wonder if it is the farming blood that runs in my veins from that long line of obscure farmers I research.