Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplants Oh My!
It's turning into full time summer soon (in the Northern Hemisphere at least) with the Equinox just around the corner and these veggies are growing bigger and riper everyday. The Nightshade -Solanaceae- family are among my favorites from the bounty of summer. However, isn't it interesting that these delicious foods have toxic extended family members? Tobacco, for instance falls in this category and we all know that does wonders for your health; Mandrake, with its history of witchcraft and weirdness, is also a Nightshade plant; and, the nortorious Roman poison, Belladonna, gave this family its namesake.
Belladonna literally translates to "beautiful woman" in Italian and for good reason: this family plays host to a group of incredibly beautiful plants. I believe that Angel's Trumpets embody this completely, as it's golden flowers droop down playing Mother Nature's music with its pleasant fragrance.
When I look at my Nightshade crops I see this same beauty as in the deadly plants they share similarities with. Tomatoes have pretty, pendulous flowers before producing their fruit just like deadly nightshade. Eggplants give a great purple that I don't see in many other vegetables. Let’s all be thankful that thousands of years ago we sorted out the delicious from the deadly.