June
21
2013

Cheyenne Peppers

Indiana weather is, in the words of Forrest Gump, like a box of chocolates in that you never really know what you’re going to get.  Well, the cool weather is now history and the early summer temps are finally upon us – which is awesome because the pool is wet and my peppers love the heat.  Some more than others but generally I’ve had some pretty wicked pepper action going on lately.  Check out this Cheyenne pepper plant:

Cheyenne

Is that a beauty or what?  And no photoshopping either!  It’s an immature plant to be sure but from the looks of it thus far it’ll be mighty impressive in a few short weeks.  Even though they have a deep green hue right now, as maturity approaches they’ll slowly change into a light orange color so that they eventually look like this:

P1000647

The light orange color contrasts nicely against the green leaves don’t you think?  The Cheyenne has a medium hot flavor and apparently does well in hanging baskets (who knew?).  I can’t wait to sample these beauties and I think that the orange color is going to be an awesome addition to the collection of greens and reds (and purples!) that I expect to have very soon.  I’ve got a lot of growth from my plants recently so expect several new posts next week.  Have an awesome weekend!

 

June
3
2013

A Peek at a Few of My Pepper Plants

Happy Monday everyone!  I shot a quick video of some of my pepper plants this weekend that I’d like to share with you.  I had originally planned to use still shots but thought that it would be better on video.  Hope you like it.

June
1
2013

Purple Beauty Bell Pepper on the Way

The name says it all.  The Purple Beauty Bell Pepper – and what a beauty it is.  I’d never seen (or heard of for that matter) this particular type of pepper but I’m super excited to harvest one and try it.  Purple Beauty’s are a sweet pepper that produce best when in full sun and have a mature size of about one and half feet tall and about a foot or so wide.  According to what I’ve read, Purple Beauty’s are a fairly low maintenance plant to grow and care for and have about an 87 day  period until maturity.  Several sources that I found state that they mature from an eggplant purple to a red color but all of the pictures that I’ve seen have them all still purple.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.  Here is a shot of one mine thus far:

 

Purple Beauty

 

 

 

May
30
2013

Race Day and Good Food

Memorial Day is always a special time for we hoosiers not only for the four-day work week that follows but because it marks another running of the Indianapolis 500 and all that that entails.  There are always lots of gatherings, catching up with friends and family and the chance to try some new dishes.

Such was the case this past weekend when my sister-in-law surprised us with a very tasty and colorful hors d’oeuvres that was a real hit.  The recipe she used is from www.tastykitchen.com and is named Cream Cheese Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers.  You can find the recipe here.

It was delicious and had just a hint of heat that was tempered with a creamy filling topped with bacon.  As you’ll no doubt notice, my pictures differ from the shots from the recipe page.  That’s because she tweaked the recipe a bit and when we spoke she suggested the following “enhancements”:

  • Double the sriracha
  • Add bacon (it makes everything better you know)
  • Sustitute in a few jalapenos for heat and color
  • Instead of halving the peppers, cut out a quarter to create a “boat” shape

Here is a shot of the final product.  And, yes – it was as good as it looks.  Thanks Missy!

Creamy Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

 

May
29
2013

Quick Pepper Update

So, last time around I told you that my pepper plants had some yellowing of the leaves and a few of them seemed to be underperforming in the growth category.  Well, we’re a couple of days later and the condition doesn’t seem to have improved much.  I visited the nursery where I bought them and they didn’t have many answers either.  They did recommend some slow release vegetable fertilizer so I tried that last night.  I’m still leaning toward the overwatering I discussed on Monday though.  The reason is that I’ve got six tomatoes planted in containers on the edge of my driveway that are thriving.  Same soil, same weather…but the difference I think could be additional drainage and higher temps due to their proximity to the blacktop.  I know that’s a SWAG but I don’t know what else it could be.  Oh well, every year is an education.  I’ll keep you posted.

May
27
2013

Houston, We Have a Problem

Well, Memorial Day is upon us and as such one would assume that the weather would reflect the fact that today is the first official day of summer.  Of course, as these things go, assumptions are just, well, assumptions.  And while the weather has become more seasonal and cooperative, the same cannot be said for a select few of my pepper plants.  You see, instead of the normal deep greens and tall stalks that I’ve become accustomed to in years past, this year I’m getting yellowing leaves and stalks so close to the ground that they’re becoming very close.  In the emotional sense you see.

But the emotional state of my plants isn’t the topic of this post as I’m sure you can imagine.  The literal health and well being of them, however, is.  The plants (mostly the ones bought at Lowes but the nursery grown ones can be lumped in too) just aren’t thriving.  I’m just not getting the growth that I thought that I would these past two weeks.  The leaves are turning yellow and curling upwards slightly.  So, as you can imagine I’ve become increasingly concerned and thus took to the web to diagnose.

According to several web sites, the cause of this condition could be many things: bacteria, pests, insufficient sunlight and/or excess watering.  After some more research and elimination, I settled on the last one as the culprit.  The one factor that I’ve seen this season which differs from past years is we’ve gotten rain almost every day.  The temps could be playing a role here too but it’s not been that cold recently so I’ll have to go with the excess watering for now.  Here they are:

Hot Banana Yummy Snacking

Pretty weak, huh?  Well, I plan to not water them at all until things dry up and we’ll see if that doesn’t lick the problem.

On a more positive note, my serrano’s are looking fantastic:

Serrano

 

I’ll keep everyone posted on the other’s as time goes by.  Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May
23
2013

New Peppers on Board!

So, I was informed by my wife this week that we had more than enough peppers for this season and that we’d have trouble keeping up with what we’ve got thus far.  Generally I’d agree.  20 plus plants of differing varieties in a suburban setting would usually keep even the most ambitious pepper grower busy.  But not me – I was at Lowes the other day and I couldn’t resist buying a few varieties that I don’t have and I’ve never grown.  So, I now have seven new plants.  And no, my wife doesn’t yet know.  But she will eventually, sooner rather than later if she reads my blog.  So this is what I bought:

2 Chili Reds

2 Thai Hot Ornamentals

1 Tabasco

1 Cubanelle

1 Hot Red Cherry

 

Seven New Peppers

I’m sure that my lovely wife will soon find out that I’ve added to our seasonal “collection”.  Hopefully their inherent beauty will temper her frustration.  Until next time…

 

May
18
2013

The Peppers are Planted!

When I last posted the weather was a little on the chilly side for this time of year but in the days since it’s warmed up nicely.  We went from the upper 50′s (with frost in the early A.M.) to the low/mid 80′s in the space of about a week.  A quick uptick to be sure but a welcome one nonetheless.

Given that the weather is now in full cooperation mode, I decided the time was right to go ahead and get what I had in the ground.  I live in a suburban area so we do a lot of container gardening with the bulk of it in raised beds.  We had a great yield last year so this time around I added a box a few more pots just to see what we could do.

Here’s one of our raised beds with about 20 pepper plants of differing varieties.  I did go a little heavy with the Jalapeno’s but the rest are about one plant per type.  I planted Big Bertha Bell’s (red and green), Serrano’s, Pimento’s, Cayenne’s, Jalapeno’s (of course), some Sweet Banana, Hot Banana, Cheyenne, Tobasco, one Purple Beauty, a Poblano, one Yummy Snacking Petite Bell and finally one mystery pepper that I lost the tag for somewhere between the nursery and my house.  Nothing like a surprise to keep things fresh I always say.  I took a pass on the habanaro’s this year – I grew quite a few last year but I found that I didn’t use them for very much.  I love the the color and texture of the habanero but it’s just a bit too hot for my taste.  I’ll save what I do with those peppers that I don’t eat for a future post.

I used mostly starts from the nursery this year since the weather’s been crazy up until now.  I did have about 12 starts from seeds that I did myself but they’re just now sprouting so I bet that I missed the window on those unless we have an unusually long summer.  On a side note, I’ve noticed quite a big difference between some of the starts that I got from a big box retailer and those that I purchased from our local nursery.  The nursery starts were grown here locally too.  I’ll post more on that later with some pictures to show the differences between the two.  Until next time, have a great weekend and keep things spicy!

Our pepper box

Our pepper box

May
6
2013

Where is the warm weather?

It’s May 2013 and its still cold.   Now, I don’t mean a little chilly for spring.  I mean sub-60 degrees clammy.  Did I mention that it’s now May 5th?  Yeah, I agree.  It’s too darn late in the year for it to be so cold and gross.  I’m planning a warm(er) weather dance in the next few days to hustle things along.  Wish me luck (and warmth).