Posts Tagged With: garden of good and evils

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

A Couple of Plants for a Supermoon Garden: a marvelous night for a moon dance

Sunset.  TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Sunset. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014












When the sun begins to sit in the west and summer temperatures wane, you may venture into the garden and wish there was more to enjoy while the temperatures are a bit cooler.

September Super Moon high in the sky. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

September Super Moon high in the sky. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014













In fact, you may venture into the garden after dark, when the moon is high in the sky! Just in time for the September Supermoon, my moonflowers are finally coming into their own.

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014












Moonflower, Ipomea alba, is one of my favorite night blooming vines. Though I noted mine are not fragrant (though many report it to be), they are very pretty from dusk (about 6 p.m.) until sunrise.  This is one annual vine I don’t mind tending to. In fact, I am collecting seed for next year as the flower pods dry and the seed is set. (Look for fat brownish pods at the base of the flower (moonflower has a very long style that leads to the ovary where the seeds form).  You can pick seed up most anywhere, but this past winter I purchased mine from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri.

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014












I plant some vines near my front porch, some near my back patio and some out on the trellis that connects two of my raised beds. I want to give myself and anyone else visiting the garden the best chance to see these beauties.

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Moonflower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014












The moonflower photo above was taken about 10:00 p.m. at night. Moonflower is in the same family (Convulvulaceae) as morning glory, cardinal climber vine, and a few you probably cuss for popping up in your garden.  The Missouri Botanical Garden provides good information on moonflower. Last night I was literally walking around at Midnight, in My Garden of Good and Evils. In fact, I went out barefoot and without a flashlight, holding just my camera. This proved to be a chuckle-worthy mistake as I stepped on something that moved and proceeded to spook myself (of course I had been watching Ghost Adventures and the Dead Files). Talk about a funny moon dance: when you step on something unseen and squishy that moves under your feet and you jump out of your skin.

Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014

Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2014












In addition to moonflower, hummingbird ginger (Hedychium coronarium) is a highly fragrant, white blooming perennial that is lovely day and night.  I was excited to find it in my south Mississippi patio garden when I moved into my house. White flowers seem to “glow” a bit more in the moonlight. Moon gardens are a fun way to extend your garden enjoyment, especially if you are into evening entertaining! The University of Florida Extension Service has a nice page on this ginger.

Sphinx moth on Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2012_RStafne_web

Sphinx moth on Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger. TheGardenMaiden_copyright2012_RStafne_web













Be still as you observe fragrant flowers in your night garden and you might see the impressive hummingbird or sphinx moth (yes, it’s the more unique and somewhat beautiful adult form of the tomato hornworm!) as pictured above. This moth also loves my evening blooming four o’ clocks (Mirabilis spp.). Sadly, the winter of 2014 claimed my nightblooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum), but fear not, for replacement is ahead for 2015. Check it out on Dave’s Garden.

The next time you look out onto your garden from your recliner, get up, put your shoes on, and remember as Van Morrison sings “It’s a marvelous night for a moon dance”.

“Well, it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush”

Don’t forget, I’m on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube…so click the links at the top of the page. Tales from the Hort Side is my FB fan page. Go ahead and give me a “like”.

The Garden Maiden 🙂

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Enhancing pollinator habitat through research, education and design

Keep Mississippi Beautiful

Working to inspire and educate Mississippians to take action everyday to impact, improve, and beautify their community environment.

Seed Gardens

Gulf South pyrogenic landscaping

Easy Wildflowers

Wild flowers from The Forest of Dean

Always Growing

A garden is good for both body and soul

In the Garden with Arkansas Extension Horticulture

Welcome to In the Garden with Arkansas Extension Horticulture, a blog about gardening in Arkansas.

%d bloggers like this: