Pepper Progress

The one crop in my garden that I have been the most nervous about this year has been the Romainian, Szegedi, and White Cloud peppers.

Last year I had great success with my jalapeno peppers, but in the past bell peppers have never fared well in my garden. Back in March I ordered seeds for the peppers I usually buy from a local farm and then planted them in early April. Nearly every seed sprouted and at the end of May I transplanted them into the garden.

At first the plants seemed to just stall and for several weeks absolutely no new growth was to be found. Then, finally in early July the plants took off.

Here is what the plants looked like July 8 —

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One week later on the 15th they looked like this —

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And today they look like this —

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I have picked 9 peppers so far and plan on picking at least five tonight.

I planted these peppers for pickling, but Hubby is enjoying them too much right out of the garden to even think about depriving him of the fresh peppers just yet. I figure I’ve got a month or so of peppers ahead of us, so even if it means picking up a few from the farmer’s market, I’d rather he enjoy them while he can.

Forty plants went into the gardens. My hope is that we’ll pick at least a bushel of peppers which is what I need to pickle enough for a years supply. Nine is a great start with the plants teeming with more, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Seedling Update #4 – The Waiting Game

For more than a week now I’ve been working on transplanting the seeds I sowed nearly a month ago.  I have far more plants than I anticipated, but cannot bring myself to pulling any of them yet. Who knows if all my transplants will make it or if the other seeds I’ve sown are even going to sprout.  At this point I want to cushion the garden so I have enough plants, even if they are all tomato and pepper, to fill every square inch.

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My broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and pumpkin plants have all sprouted, but for now they are going to hang out in their original pots.  I’ve found lots of information online on how to transplant tomato and pepper seedlings into larger pots before planting them in the garden, but have not been so lucky when it comes to these other plants.  I figure I’ll wait until they have another week or two of growth and then try transplanting a few of them to see if they survive the shock and continue to grow.

This afternoon I planted three new varieties of peppers that I ordered online.  These peppers will be for canning.  For the past four years I have bought a bushel of peppers from a local farmer and canned them.  This year my goal is to grow my own.  I bought Szegedi, Romainian, and White Cloud peppers.  All are sweet and either yellow or white with a very thick flesh — perfect for pickling.

I am so excited for the weather to warm up so I can get out and start preparing the gardens for incoming plants.  Being in Michigan however, there is no telling when that might be.  Just to give you a little taste of what it’s like here:  Two days ago it was 54 degrees and sunny outside, one day ago we woke to 3″ of snow on the ground, and today it was 52 degrees and sunny again.  Not the best track record for getting outside and making any progress.

I have a few more plants that I will be able to transplant in a few days, but then it becomes the waiting game.  There won’t be a whole lot to do with the plants until they start growing and the leaves begin to multiply.  Already some of the tomato plants are getting a new set of leaves, giving me hope that perhaps some of these will actually make it to the garden.

I have big plans this spring/summer and truly hope my efforts will be rewarded.  For now, I am enjoying the smell the plants growing in the dining room and the dirt under my nails, for this I am — Simply Grateful.