Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting the Garden in Gear

The first peppers are sprouting!  This is my (new) early warning system to get moving on the rest of the garden plans.  Peppers are one of the most frustrating plants to start from seed.  The garden shops make it seem easy when you pick up a six pack of young plants (like they just jump out of the potting soil), but there are few things as dull as waiting the six to eight weeks to watch a pepper plant sprout.  I usually wait a little too long in the season to get the seed flats started and then get overexcited and plant a whole bunch of vegetables at once, and of course everything takes off except the peppers.  By the time they are ready to harden outside the sun scorches them to nothing.

Early Jalapeños
This year I got the jump and started them on New Year's weekend.  I figured it would be mid to late March by the time they were nice and leafy.  The row covers (and maybe hoop-house) should provide the freeze protection for the plants at that stage.  Now I just need to get the orders in for the covers and the rest of the seeds, start the rest of the early plants, rotate the pigs to till the garden, etc......

72 Pepper Plants?

Now what would I need with 72 pepper plants and 12 varieties?  What not is the better question.  They make you smile, drool, wince, cry, burn, sweat, and scream.  The hot ones are also good for bug control aside from awesome Salsa (check out my natural bug spray recipe).  They're going to be beautiful with the 72 tomato plants that I'll be starting in the next couple weeks.

Take note of my new labeling system.  It's from plastic pipe hanger.  I had a 100' roll lying around that cost a couple bucks - a whole lot cheaper than the arrow planter labels that cost a couple buck / dozen and always seem to disappear.  So far the sharpie ink is holding up well and I haven't noticed any fading.  Now I need an inexpensive outside labeling system that can hold up to sun bleaching.  Ideas appreciated.

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