Most of my peppers are in the (expanded) garden!

Pepper Patch of the Past
Pepper Patch of the Past

It’s a great feeling to have a majority of my pepper plants in the ground! Yesterday I planted 19 pepper plants! I have another dozen coming mail-order from the great people at Cross Country Nurseries later this week, and maybe a few more from my good friends at the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens here in the town where I live. In the past, I wouldn’t have had room for all these peppers, let alone even more plants in the garden… what you see to the left is a photo of the garden as it’s been in the past. I’m not sure of the square footage, but it was probably around 8′ x 12′.

After day-one of tilling
After day-one of tilling

So… About a month ago, I purchased a new Mantis tiller with the intention of maintaining the pepper patch a little easier by using it as a cultivator, and also putting it through the paces by converting some of the surrounding lawn to garden space. Mantis assured me it would be easy… and to their credit, it WAS!! I now have a lovely 12′ x 18′ garden, an increase of about 100 sq. ft. The Mantis really made quick work of turning lawn into garden with very little effort in virtually no time! I probably only spent 2 hours total with the tiller running to get that grass whipped into a lovely bed of dark, rich soil. This little sucker can RUN! And the way they have designed the tines, I only had to stop a time or two to clear out clogged clumps of soil.

I prepped the new portions of the garden with compost from my compost bin, layering it on about an inch thick and then just hand “tilling” it in when I put the plants in the ground. I made sure to push a good amount of compost into each hole before putting the plant in. Hopefully this will give them a good start and help them out in the first year soil.

What did I get planted?

  • 2 Chombo
  • 4 Red rocoto
  • 2 Demre
  • 4 Yellow rocoto
  • 1 Bocskor
  • 1 Bogyiszloi
  • 2 PCR
  • 1 Kathari
  • 1 CHOT
  • 1 Dundicut

I’m really excited about many of these varieties because they’re not widely available (if available at all) from seed/plant companies in North America. Several of the varieties are from India directly, others from Hungary, and finally, the Chombo pepper is probably my biggest excitement for this season, it’s “THE” hot pepper of Panama, where I was born! I’ve never seen them for sale before, and have only seen pictures on a Canal Zone website… but a lady in Indianapolis swapped me some seeds and I’m so excited to grow them!

So, that’s the update for now…. keep an eye on this space as the season grows along!

2010 Garden – Week One Update – Pepper Seeds Starting

Well, since the seeds went in the “ground” one week ago, there has been some change. Last night I noticed the emergence of the radicle on several of the seeds!! WOO HOO!!! We have germination! The radicle is the first root that emerges from the seed, “digs” down into the soil and takes hold as well as starts pumping nutrients up into the rest of the plant as it develops.

A couple of people have asked me why I don’t cover or bury my seeds when I start them. I’ve got a two part answer:

  1. First, when you’re starting seeds indoors, there are no critters who can come scavenge your seeds away. No birds, no squirrels, mice, etc. They’re safe! And, when wild pepper plants self-sow, they don’t have the ability to cover their seeds, so I almost think it’s a more natural method.
  2. Second, I love watching the stages of germination!! You can watch the seeds plump up as they take in moisture, then, as yesterday, you can watch everything happen directly with the emergence of the radicle, then the cotyledons next and you’d miss all that if it was happening underground!

Another exciting update is that I got more seeds!!! My friend, Hemant, sent me a bunch of Indian peppers! I sent him a couple of big bags of bhut jolokias last season, it was a great swap if you ask me! I sowed these new seeds and we’ll have them to watch as well moving forward! Here’s a list of what he sent me:

  • Kanthari
  • Sannam
  • Mundu
  • Gundu
  • CHOT
  • Dundicut

I don’t know much about these varieties, but I’ll be digging in and doing some research on them soon, I’ll let you know what I find out. If any of you have any info on them, post a comment and share!