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Zinnias, Spindly Tomatoes and a Produce Recipe From Her Garden!

Written by Leslie Means

Written By:  Leslie Means

Each and every summer since I’ve planted my own garden (OK  – only for the past 4 years) I have thought of this quote from Steel Magnolias.  (FYI – this is the part where Weezer plops down a bag of garden grown tomatoes.)

Clairee – Don’t give these all to me!

Ouiser (Weezer) – Somebody’s gotta take em. I hate em. I try not to eat healthy food if I can possibly help it. The sooner my body gives out the better off I’ll be… I can’t get enough grease into my diet.

Anelle – Then why do you grow them?

Ouiser (Weezer) – Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules!

I am totally Ousier in this quote.  OK – I’m not an old Southern woman and I would rather not have my body give out.  But – I’m not really sure why I attempt to grow veggies each year. 

Case in point:

They usually end up looking pretty scraggly.  I even tried to pull weeds this year to help with growth.  I pulled for over two hours a few weeks ago.  My reward?  The worst sunburn I’ve had since spring break 2002.

I won’t share the image with you.  It’s not pretty.

I suppose I attempt because I remember fond memories of gardening with my mom.  I would also like my girls  to learn.  Err, at least try.  Each year I plant the usual; tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, pumpkins and onions.  I’ve tried others  including melons, but they usually end up looking worse than my tomato plants.

Nevertheless – I forge ahead.  Because it’s what I’m supposed to do.  I’m a 30 year-old farm girl who has come from a long line of farmers.  To not plant would be a travesty.  Besides, this doesn’t look so bad, does it?

What?  err…alright, so I have a few weeds.  But that big clump is actually potatoes.  Honest!  OK – and weeds, too.

The one thing that DOES grow for me are zinnias.  I don’t know if it’s the sandy soil I have in my garden, or simply the fact that God feels bad for me and my gardening skills so He lets the flowers grow.  Either way, they are gorgeous and growing in a variety of shapes and colors. 

Ella and I planted 8 packs of flowers last spring.  I had forgotten she picked out a cool pack of sunflowers.  You can imagine my surprise (and thrill!) when I found out the massive tall plants growing weren’t weeds after all!   

These make me happy.  They make my friends who receive them throughout the summer happy.  If we’re being REALLY honest, even the smallest cucumber, bug eaten pumpkin and spindly looking onion makes me happy, too.  That’s enough for me to forge ahead and try again next year.  Cause…that’s what this farmer’s daughter does.  😉

P.S. For those of you who attempt to grow gardens as well, here is a fantastic summer salsa recipe you just MUST try with your produce!

Summer Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar of peach salsa (often times I find mine at Target)
  • 1 can black beans
  • Sweet Corn.  If you use corn on the cob, be sure to cook it first then cut off husk.
  • Cilantro
  • Watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Miz all ingredients together.  You can add as much or as little corn and watermelon as you wish.  Serve cold.

P.P.S. This is TASTY with really fun chips.  I like Tostitos Roasted Garlic and Black Bean chips.  YUM-O!


About the author

Leslie Means

Leslie is a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, co-founder and owner of Her View From Home.com and has several published short stories as well.

She is married to a very patient man. Together they have two pretty fantastic little girls ages 7 and 5.

When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.

  • Mom

    Leslie,
    After years of experience I’ll tell you “buy only virus resistant tomato plants”. Although the heirloom tomatoes are fun they should be planted far away from the other tomatoes!

    • http://www.ellabbella.com Leslie

      OH! Now you tell me! 😉 Love ya!