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Plants That go the Distance

Here we are in late September and we are still eating out of the garden. Two vegetables are particularly impressive right now; I’m continuing to love a squash I’ve planted for five years plus a pepper from Burpee that is my new BFF. Tonight the two got together for dinner…our dinner.

What impresses me about the Zephyr squash isn’t just its flavor. Every year I’m in awe of how this plant continues to produce even when powdery mildew has totally overwhelmed the plant. We always spray our squash with either Green Cure or Actinovate from early in the season on and these keep the powdery mildew at bay until sometime in mid-August.

In late summer, however, the mildew usually gains the upper hand and almost overnight the leaves become coated. This happened in the third week in August this summer, and since the end of that month we haven’t sprayed anything on these plants. The older leaves have all died back from powdery mildew infection, but despite the lack of our attention the new growth continues. Every other day each plant has at least two squash that are ready to pick, mildew be damned!

My new BFF is a pepper, which is a complete surprise since peppers don’t often do well in the Northeast where our summers aren’t usually long or hot. When the Burpee company sent me some Sweet Heat Peppers to try I optimistically planted one in a container and another in the garden. Both plants have been prolific beyond my wildest dreams.

Sweet Heat ripened early in the summer and the plants have kept producing an astonishing number of flavorful peppers that were slightly spicy early in the season and had a bit more zing later in the fall. This variety has also been bred not only to be early but to be higher in vitamin C. I’m hooked.

We value things that can go the distance, don’t we? Family, long term friends, and our communities all sustain us. Plants can obtain the same important status in our lives as they lift our hearts and our taste buds as they grace our landscapes and the dinner table. Two months before our official observance of Thanksgiving I feel gratitude for all the people and plants that enrich and support my life.

This is what we picked off of one Sweet Heat pepper plant two days ago.

What's for dinner? Halibut baked with pesto sauce and diced summer squash and peppers seasoned with chives, fresh parsley, and garlic. Something about cutting the pieces into smal cubes makes this dish more flavorful.

 

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