If you're sick to death of wimpy bloomers that keel over in the heat or melt altogether in the humidity, Bulletproof Flowers for the South, by Jim Wilson (Taylor Books, 1999; $33) belongs on your bookshelf. Jim speaks with homegrown authority and the experience of a lifetime gardening in our conditions. This book is well organized and covers selecting, growing, and enjoying tough plants. Check his lists of plant societies, Internet listings, catalogs, and reference books for even more great info.
Tabasco Pepper Vinegar
Here's a hot little recipe that spices up all kinds of dishes! It will produce an 8-ounce jar of peppers - use a clean jar with a tight screwtop. Watch out though, because this one can get hot and not everyone enjoys the "spicier" taste in life.
24 tabasco peppers - yellow, orange, and red
6 peppercorns - black, green, pink, and white
2 large or 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled
Remove stems, wash peppers, and dry them on a paper towel. Put all ingredients in the jar and pour fresh white vinegar over them - leave at least 1/4 inch of space at the top. Screw the top on tightly and put the jar in the cupboard for two weeks, then taste. Too hot? Separate into two jars and add more vinegar to each. Too mild? Wait awhile. Put the jar on the table to season cabbage, greens, peas, and beans.
Serves many for months!