There have been a number of high-profile news stories recently that have showcased vegetable-growing urbanites and suburbanites getting themselves into major hot water by running afoul of ordinances and subdivision covenants. One of the most prominent involved the case of Julie Bass of Michigan, who danged near went to jail for her refusal to stop growing vegetables in her front yard.
The potential problem with gardens like Julie's is plain to see:
|It was neat, it was tidy, it was mulched between the boxes... but it was arguably ugly. It's just a bunch of raw lumber holding back some dirt. It's difficult to see how this installation might enhance property values, and if you want to understand any given neighborhood conflict, follow the money. |
Photo from The Germinatrix blog, copyright status unstated.
|That planter is actually a converted Behlen Country brand livestock tank - love their product line, and you can buy these oblong varieties as well as round ones at American Fence and Supply which is located just two miles from Centerpointe on the feeder between here and FM 646.|
Readers who grew up in rural areas are probably snickering by this time, because you've recognized that it's actually okra growing in the steel planter.
|Okra produces a profusion of beautiful big yellow flowers that would enhance any landscape, as long as it is tastefully integrated into a suitably-sophisticated design.|
Get it?! Tastefully integrated??
|And this is what comes forth from those flowers.|
|Here's what to do if you plan to freeze okra:|
(1) Wash it
(2) Trim off the heads and tails
(3) Blanche it by dropping it into rapidly-boiling water for three minutes (no longer)
|...(4) Remove the okra from the boiling water with a big slotted spoon, and immediately plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking |
|Deep Fried Southern Okra:|
TELL ME you don't want a piece of this!
I make my batter by mixing together organic yellow corn meal, a lightly-beaten egg, unsweetened plain yoghurt, and Cajun spice mix (I use Tony Chachere's). Coat the okra, drop into hot oil and fry. It was AWESOME! I gorged myself.
There's an Asian-Indian analog to this stuff called pakoras. I also wanted to try making some okra pakoras, but I didn't have any besan flour on hand, so I stuck with corn meal for this batch.
|Bye, guys. You've served us well.|
That's a shot looking down into my Delafield Pottery kitchen compost crock.
Incidentally, this is the same stock tank planter that I referenced in a post back in June of this year, when it was growing tomatoes instead of okra. This spring, we harvested about one thousand cherry tomatoes just from this one planter.
|Here's a screengrab from that June post. Tomato plants are not as photogenic as okra, but we still like 'em.|
There's a certain irreverent wit to all of this, isn't there?? It's almost like yet another emerging form of American imperialism on a suburban scale: "Well, we put in some sophisticated-looking landscaping around our home, and we liked it, but then we got tired of it, and so we ate it."