Posts Tagged With: garden maiden

A Spicy Bit of Garden Evil in the Kitchen

Today is my day to spend all day working in the garden and yard. I actually like to think of my entire outdoor space as a garden. No writing today. (wait, what?) Just working outside. But I do need to plan for and prepare dinner. On the menu: fried pork chops (from the local meat market-no not a dance club, an actual place where you can purchase meat), fried potatoes and onions, wilted lettuce (thank you Grandmother) and jalapeno cheese cornbread.

Before I head outside, I decided to bake my cornbread since from 3-6 p.m. we are on a “summer rate” time of use plan with electric co-op, so using the stove is off limits. The basis for my recipe is from I tweak it to make it lower sodium with the following changes: use 1 no salt added (NSA) can of cream corn (thus reduce the milk to only 2C), fresh peppers (not canned or pickled), NSA baking powder, and Swiss cheese (about the lowest sodium cheese you can buy). I also use local honey instead of sugar and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. All of this goes into my trusty, old cast iron skillet (an amazing wedding gift from my Grandma-in-law, now deceased).

Anyway, there I was in the kitchen putting my ingredients together. My garden peppers are coming along fine, and those that I overwintered have started producing harvestable fruit, but not the jalapenos. So I mosey (yeah, I do that sometimes) on over to the fridge and pull out two jalapenos purchased from the grocery store. Then I remembered a baggie of frozen peppers in the freezer that a friend brought us from Stillwater, Oklahoma a couple of years ago. With the new peppers coming on, it was time to clean out the freezer, so I grabbed the baggie.  How many years ago was it? Two? Three? Nearly four? What kind of peppers were these? My memory was fuzzy. The last time I pulled one out to put on a pizza it was not spicy at all. I guess they brought us sweet peppers. It doesn’t seem right. However, I know the last pepper was sweet. Yellow and sweet.

I decided that to add color and texture I would put the last six remaining “sweet” peppers from Stillwater into my cornbread. I chopped each small yellow and red pepper into three or four chunks. I dumped them into my bowl of dry ingredients. As I was about to put the last pepper in, I paused. Erring on the side of caution, for kicks and giggles, I pop a piece into my mouth and move it around with my tongue.  Oh my Garden of Good and Evils!!!!! NOT A SWEET PEPPER. NOT A SWEET PEPPER. Now, I love hot peppers just as much as any other spicy food addicted fool, but I immediately spit out what I can only assume was a habanero.  As I gazed upon my bowl filled with chopped peppers that may be habaneros, I thought of a sticker at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Slidell, Louisiana: in queso emergency, pray to cheeses!


I grabbed a fork and fished out all the flour and cornmeal-covered pieces that I could find.  I decided to go ahead and bake the cornbread. I just couldn’t waste all those ingredients, but I also knew I did not remove all the hot pepper pieces. Against all odds, I placed the batter-filled skillet into the oven, set the timer, and stepped away.


Hating to have wasted all the peppers that now couldn’t be used for anything, I quickly remembered my nemesis in the garden. THE SQUIRRELS.


Earlier this spring I was able to deter the squirrels out of some planted containers by sprinkling pizza peppers from the kitchen spice rack onto the soil. This seemed to work, although the sprouted pepper plants were a surprise. (oh, yes, they did germinate after eight years in a container!) However, for the last few weeks, I raised my fists in rage daily to find the squirrels had dug in numerous plant pots and raised beds, killing many seedlings and kicking out my new expensive soil amendments onto the ground. Racing to the trash can I gently fished out all the hot pepper pieces onto a napkin. Into the garden I sprinted with evil delight. I placed pepper pieces into the plant containers that I knew my dachshunds could not access.  SUCK IT SQUIRRELS, I laughed maniacally.


Spicy peppers sprinkled among Passiflora seedlings to deter squirrels.


Now, my cornbread is done baking. I cannot wait to try a slice.  Moreover, I cannot wait to see if the squirrels mess with my plants for the next few days.


Cornbread which may have been baked with habanero peppers.

The moral of this story is ALWAYS label your stored peppers.  Time goes by and memory fades, and remembering incorrectly could really put you in hot water.

My brow is still sweating and my nose is still running, but now it is time to venture out into the garden and get to work.  Rain is coming tomorrow. Rain that will help all my peppers grow, including my ghost peppers.


Stay spicy my friends,

The Garden Maiden

PS I thought I wasn’t supposed to be writing today?


copyright 2017 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

American Society for Horticultural Science 2014 Conference: search for the holy grail!

Last week my husband I attended the 2014 annual meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science in Orlando, Florida. We’ve been members since about 1998, when we were graduate students at the University of Arkansas. I’ve received questions from friends or family inquiring as to what we do “at those meetings.”












In our search for the “Holy Grail of Horticulture” we attend these conferences to speak, present, meet, ask, and apply.  In Horticulture there are many “holy grails” being quested for such as the perfect nursery container “pot”. Speaking of pot, I attended a workshop on indigenous herbal medicine and recent developments in cannabis regulation and cultivation. This was a very informative two hours! (or was it six hours or perhaps thirty minutes…I can’t remember…JUST KIDDING!)  As the Grail Knight tells us us in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “You must choose. But choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”















Attending the professional conferences, such as ASHS, affords us opportunities to present current research we have been a part of by making oral or poster presentations for our peers.

Even during years when I had nothing to present (I often joke that for several years I was the longest running member not employed in horticulture), I would spend a couple of hours walking through the poster hall reading about the latest and greatest research in horticulture science.















Since my background is very diversified (from ornamentals, to fruit crops, to veg crops and beyond)…I attend a variety of oral presentations. I gather ideas for garden articles, research topics and usually enjoy a renewed sense of enthusiasm for horticulture and my place in it.















There are many optional “field trips” available during the conference too, usually incorporating horticulture or public garden sites.

This year there was a silent auction to support speakers for the Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants Working Group. My bids won a Rodale book on medicinal plants and a collection of Proven Winners Gardener’s Collection of soap, hand balm and lip balm created with goats milk and organic essential oils by Indigo Wild in Kansas City, MO.

I would be remiss if not to include the invaluable social time with my peers as part of the enjoyment of the conference. I love meeting new people, but also catching up with friends and colleagues, many of whom I only see once or twice a year at an ASHS conference.

Networking is a big part of the conference. You may meet future employers, committee members, find out about upcoming jobs and opportunities and gain face time for future endeavors. Collaboration is a big part of research and networking at ASHS can put you in touch with new collaboration opportunities.















For many years now I have been able to use my time attending professional presentations at ASHS as CEU’s to maintain my Certified Professional Horticulturist status. This is a great way to “rack up” a lot of hours in a few days.

Recent trends have included much more research on sustainable and organic methods of growing and producing plants. For that I am very excited and thankful.

A few more shots from ASHS 2014 presentations in this mini-slideshow

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We also attend and have been members of the ASHS-Southern Region group since about 1998.


See you next year at ASHS New Orleans!

The Garden Maiden 🙂

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Plant Related Events | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My 2014 Garden Seed List, oh my!

My 2014 seed list

My 2014 seed list

Seeds, seeds, everywhere! I have no idea where I will put them all as my eyes were bigger than my garden area. However, here is my 2014 seed list. I have a responsibility to get the seed growing! Waste not, want not. I plan to give some plants to friends and family to share the love. I know that being able to look at a seed catalog and actually purchase the seeds you want is a big deal! I realize there are thousands of people (if not more) who only dream of purchasing the seeds they want for a garden.  How many seed catalogs did I mark-up and dog-ear as a child with all the things I wanted to grow? I have no idea, but I know it was  lot. I hope to save some seed from my harvest to lower my seed bill for 2015. My list below represents about 90% of my seed, maybe 95% and all of the seed below was purchased through Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. in Mansfield, MO. a couple of hours from my birthplace. I have been using them for years and have always found great customer service. They are not just a seed company; the Gettles are a true gem in the plant world.

Name Price QTY Total
Blue Lake Bush 274 Bean
Item No: BN119
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Podded Pole Bean
Item No: BN114
$2.75 1 $2.75
Aoyu Edamame
Item No: SY106
$4.00 1 $4.00
Chinese Red Noodle Bean
Item No: LG109
$2.50 1 $2.50
Amarillo Carrot
Item No: CR114
$3.00 1 $3.00
Danvers 126 Half Long Carrot
Item No: CR102
$2.50 1 $2.50
Ozark Razorback Cowpea
Item No: CW148
$2.50 1 $2.50

Piggott Family Heirloom Cowpea
Item No: CW153
$2.50 1 $2.50
Boston Pickling Cucumber
Item No: CU105
$1.75 1 $1.75
Delikatesse Cucumber
Item No: CU109
$2.00 1 $2.00
Lao Purple Stripe Eggplant
Item No: EG143
$2.50 1 $2.50
Louisiana Long Green Eggplant
Item No: EG115
$2.00 1 $2.00
Banana Passion Fruit –
Item No: GR127
$4.00 1 $4.00
Big Apple Gourd
Item No: GD115
$3.00 1 $3.00
Collards – Georgia Southern Creole
Item No: OG109
$2.00 1 $2.00
Flashy Butter Oak Lettuce
Item No: LT157
$3.00 1 $3.00
Tennis Ball Lettuce
Item No: LT164
$2.50 1 $2.50
Honey Rock Melon
Item No: AML105
$1.75 1 $1.75
Missouri Gold Melon
Item No: AML150
$3.00 1 $3.00
Cassabanana $4.00 1 $4.00
Item No: MC101
Jing Orange Okra
Item No: OK126
$2.50 1 $2.50
Stelley Okra
Item No: OK134
$2.50 1 $2.50
Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper
Item No: HPP171
$3.00 1 $3.00
Pasilla Bajio Pepper
Item No: HPP105
$1.75 1 $1.75
Scotch Bonnet Yellow Pepper
Item No: HPP161
$2.50 1 $2.50
Tabasco Pepper
Item No: HPP106
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Jalapeno
Item No: HPP118
$2.50 1 $2.50
Ozark Giant Pepper
Item No: PP154
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Plum Radish
Item No: RD122
$2.50 1 $2.50
Giant of Sicily Radish
Item No: RD118
$2.00 1 $2.00
Amsterdam Prickly Seeded Spinach
Item No: SP108
$2.50 1 $2.50
Rugosa Friulana
Item No: SSQ137
$3.00 1 $3.00
Yellow Scallop Squash
Item No: SSQ108
$2.50 1 $2.50
Item No: SSQ118
$2.50 1 $2.50
Alligator Squash
Item No: SQ280
$3.00 1 $3.00
Americana Tonda Squash
Item No: SQ144
$2.00 1 $2.00
Chihuahua Landrace Squash
Item No: SQ211
$3.00 1 $3.00
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
Item No: SQ128
$2.25 1 $2.25
Shishigatani or Toonas Makino
Item No: SQ105
$4.00 1 $4.00
Yokohama Squash
Item No: SQ108
$2.75 1 $2.75
Rio Grande Verde Tomatillo
Item No: TL104
$2.25 1 $2.25
Orange Icicle Tomato
Item No: TO124
$2.50 1 $2.50
Arkansas Traveler Tomato
Item No: TK108
$2.50 1 $2.50
Cherokee Purple Tomato $2.50 1 $2.50
Item No: TP101
Chocolate Pear Tomato
Item No: TP155
$2.50 1 $2.50
Purple Bumble Bee Tomato
Item No: TS149
$2.75 1 $2.75
Ali Baba Watermelon
Item No: WM152
$2.50 1 $2.50
Basil – Corsican
Item No: HB206
$2.50 1 $2.50
Basil – Lemon
Item No: HB107
$2.00 1 $2.00
Basil – Lime
Item No: HB103
$2.50 1 $2.50
Cilantro, Slo-Bolt
Item No: HB143
$2.50 1 $2.50
Dill Bouquet
Item No: HB126
$2.50 1 $2.50
Item No: HB112
$2.25 1 $2.25
Lemon Balm
Item No: HB117
$2.50 1 $2.50
Item No: HB162
$3.00 1 $3.00
Oregano, Wild Zaatar
Item No: HB174
$2.50 1 $2.50

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Seed and Plant Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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