Tag Archive | tomatoes

Rooftop Gardening: Rebooting The Tomatoes


I hit the reboot button!

I thought I’d do a roundup on the rooftop gardening, since I haven’t done that in a while. As you can see, I totally lost my patience with my ugly tomato plants. They have been suffering all this time, after being hit with a bacterial blight in the spring with the first heat wave’s arrival. Perhaps I must be grateful that the plants survived, and have churned out a pretty fair amount of tomatoes, under the circumstances! We don’t use any chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc. on our gardens, so dealing with bugs and diseases is fairly stressful for the plants. You can see it in the leaves, they look miserable:


I've lost my patience with these ugly tomato plants!

The amazing thing, really, is that the plants keep producing nice, red, juicy delicious tomatoes! I’ve been steadily trying to cut out the dead foliage without making too much drastic damage while the tomatoes are ripening, but finally there comes a time when no more blossoms means time for drastic measures. When all else fails, hit the Reboot button!


Pruning out the ugly branches is such a relief!

You know how great it feels when you get a nice new haircut? Well, I hope the plants felt that great after I pruned out all the old sorry looking stuff and left only the few ripening tomatoes and the little bit of new green growth. Personally, I felt much better after that! I love a nice, tidy garden! The really nice thing about a rooftop container garden is that there are very few weeds to deal with. First, not as much seed floats around on the wind up that high, and second, the containers have pretty limited surface, so it’s really easy to pick out a weed while I’m watering. I’m really enjoying this!


The Egyptian Bell Peppers Are Starting To Look Good

Growing up, I was never a fan of peppers, until I ate a hotdog at a carnival once with grilled peppers and onions and mustard on it. There’s something magical about grilled or saute’d peppers and onions on a piece of egyptian wholegrain flat bread slathered with mustard! If you’ve never tried that, I definitely encourage you!

It’s so exciting to see fresh veggies ripening on the plant and these peppers are so colorful, I just love to share!


Aren't They Pretty?!

And here’s more good news, saute’d eggplant is soon arriving on the menu! Eggplants are way more versatile than most people imagine. Peel them and slice them thin like mushroom pieces, and saute’ them exactly as mushrooms with a little of your favorite oil and some salt and pepper. Then use them in any recipe as an alternative to mushrooms and you’ll probably be surprised how much you love eggplant after that!

Purple is my favorite color – who can resist such a gorgeous flower?!


A Sneak Preview Of The Eggplants

So here’s today’s harvest in the next two photos. Just the right amount for two grateful people who love fresh, all natural, homegrown veggies!


Today's Harvest, Part 1


Today's Harvest, Part 2: Squash, Okra & More Cucumbers

Here’s a quick recipe for Egyptian Okra Soup:

Fill a medium size cooking pot halfway with soup broth (or use water and boullion)
Cut the tops off of 20-30 “arns” (arabic for “horns”) of okra and discard,
Then cut the okra in 1 cm pieces and add to the soup
Then add in the following:
1 ripe tomato cut into small chunks
1 hot pepper, cut into small chunks
2 or 3 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
Season with salt and fresh black pepper

Bring to a boil, and then boil on low for about 5-7 minutes. The okra won’t be mushy this way, it tastes best when it still has a light crunch to it. Enjoy!

★★★★★★★★★ Guess what?!! It’s party time again!!! ★★★★★★★★

And since tonight is Ramadan Eve, insha’Allah we’ll have a Ramadan Party!!

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In Ramadan, Muslims fast from early dawn till sunset every day for the whole month. Here in Egypt, early dawn for this coming first day of Ramadan is at 3:11am. We need to eat and be finished before that time, so I always allow one and a half hours for food prep and eating. Tonight I’m staying up since I have a lot to do, but usually I try to sleep for a few hours in the night, and catch a nap in the mid day. So, as long as I’m up already, let’s have a party!

The food table is all set up, see?!

I think I’m starting to improve my party throwing skills, alhamdulillah / thanks to God! Hope you enjoy the food! (You can learn more about the food by clicking the caption link)

★★★ The Seed of Light Award ★★★

On June 09, 2014 Sumaira of The Muslimah Mommy awarded me with the Seed of Light Award – Thank you once again, my dear sister! God bless you and all of your family with every success! ♥♥♥ ;^)

I hope you all will visit her blog for a great inspiration and lovely glimpse into the life of a Muslimah Mommy working hard to put her faith into practice, and sharing her efforts with us on her blog:


Sowing this seed is easy, Here are the steps:

1) Thank the person who nominated you.

2) Nominate at least 5 blogs and provide links to their blogs.

3) Notify each on their nomination.”

As with all of the awards I present, you are all recipients, whether or not you generate another cycle of this award. Recycling is optional, but the award is yours! Display it as you like on your blog and enjoy – Congratulations!

If you do decide to recycle this award, there’s no deadline to doing so. Take your time and you can always plug it into a post you are doing anyway, just like I did, that seems to be an easier way, sometimes, than making a separate post. The point is to enjoy it, and share the appreciation and recognition so others get a chance to learn about the great bloggers you are enjoying. The more the merrier! ♥♥♥ ;^)))

Here are my awardees, Congratulations to you all! I appreciate you all and enjoy so much your wonderful writing!

Zara http://zar4h.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/limitless-love-2014/
Christy http://poeticparfait.com/2014/06/18/mythology-the-golden-apple-of-discord-poetry-who-is-the-fairest-by-christy-birmingham/
Lady of the Cakes http://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/language-learning-youve-got-to-live-it/
Traditionally Modern Food http://traditionallymodernfood.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/baked-besan-bonda-2/
Katarina http://katarinawohlfart.com/2014/06/28/going-to-porvoo-with-svenska-resebloggar-and-travelhouseporvoo-in-september/
Nicole Marie http://wordsandotherthings.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/my-grandfather-and-i/
Corrine and Jim http://www.reflectionsenroute.com/weekend-travel-inspiration-develop-sympathy/
Emily http://emilykarn.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/the-new-arenas/
iithinks http://iithinks.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/a-single-smile/
Holistic Wayfarer http://holisticwayfarer.com/2014/06/27/my-boys-love-on-the-landing/


I invite you all to explore the souq / bazaar at night during Ramadan – it’s enchanting!


Shopping at night is always more fun in Ramadan!

picture source


Rooftop Gardening: Flowering Vegetables

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If I was Tinkerbell, or some other dainty little fairy flitting here and there in a forest, I’d like my dress to be made from this frilly white flower. We have no idea what this plant is called, Mohamed received the seeds from a good friend who owns a greenhouse operation nearby. He told me it makes a gourd that people like to eat the seeds from as a snack. It’s supposed to be a quick growing vine that will cover our grape arbor and give us shade and relief from the hot summer sun up on our rooftop garden.
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We planted a seed in every barrel around the roof, and they are taking off like crazy, producing many vines and slowly climbing up the arbor. One or two have actually reached the top of the arbor already and I’m guiding them carefully in the right directions.

The pretty flowers are quite a bonus, in my opinion! Two nights ago we were up on the roof working and it was about time to stop. At sunset the mosquitoes come out, and I don’t like to be their dinner.

But this time, a little earlier than the mosquitoes, a really interesting insect came visiting these frilly white flowers. Too bad I didn’t have my camera up there at the time, it looked like the strangest cross between a small hummingbird and a large butterfly, with gorgeous orange colored spots on its wings. Just like a hummingbird, I couldn’t really see the wings, just the spots, as it was hovering over the flower and inserting it’s needle-like beak for a sip of something sweet, then it flitted off to the next flower!

Insha’Allah, God willing, I’ll have my camera ready next time!

This next shot is one of the barrels filled with the vines of this mystery gourd. The bougainvillea planted in a chicken feeder beside the barrel is also flowering nicely, adding some pretty color to the roof!

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Rooftop Gardening: Our First Tomato!

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Our First Tomato!

I’ve been so busy with this blog, posting away like the OCD introverted nerd that I am, that anyone would think I have nothing better to do up on the roof! But they would be wrong – lol – I figured out having a blog is like having a baby. All of a sudden you become so much more productive, getting all the chores done right away to make time for that new baby…  or, in my case, new blog!

Our 2014 rooftop garden is in full swing already, thanks to God for a very mild winter. I am aware that everyone else on earth froze their fannies off this year, and I really appreciate how horrible that must have been. But I don’t mind telling you that I didn’t miss the usual suffering through winter in a house with no heating, no insulation in the walls, and hand built windows that are more cosmetic than functional.  They do a pretty good job of keeping the bugs out, but the weather? Not so much! It’s usually a steady 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter here, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that 45 degrees is the temperature inside your refrigerator. It’s really hard to handle life in a refrigerator for eight weeks! Maybe I’m just a wimp, but I really am thankful for not living in the refrigerator all this last winter!

So, with all the great weather we’ve had, it’s actually been fun tending to the rooftop gardening. First, I went on a treasure hunt in our storage room, collecting chicken feeders. You might have noticed that five story chicken farm next door. Back when it was only three floors, Mohamed was running it himself but then his ticket to Canada popped up and saved him from all that headache. He rented the farm out and put all his equipment in the storage room, waiting patiently for his new packrat wife from America to come figure out what to do with it all! They looked like perfect planters to me, so I hauled them all up to the roof and spread them out in rows:

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Chicken Feeders Lined Up All Around The Rooftop

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