So where does this leave me with my gardening dreams? I haven't given up. Last year, I started all my seeds too late, and then went to New Orleans for a weekend, during a heat advisory and came home to all my tiny plants completely fried. Given that I have to contend with Southern weather, I probably can't achieve an identical garden to my Grandmother's, but I'm still optimistic! I salvaged from last year's very hot summer a few plants that I've nursed indoors this winter, a lychee plant and three chile plants. I have a habanero, an anaheim, and a pasilla bajio plant. I've also just started to germinate (indoors) fava beans, sugar snap peas, cherokee purple tomatoes (native to Tennessee with a purplish-red exterior), and san marzano tomatoes. The fava beans and sugar snap peas I'm soaking in water for 24 hours before I plant them and the others I'm sprouting in moist paper towels in ziplock bags.
I have dreams of growing some of my own vegetables and maybe this summer I'll be able to use my own tomatoes, chiles, fava beans and peas. And if the heat kills them all again, well, there's always next year :)