April 30, 2005

Tepin Chile

Southern California is always beautiful during April. Once the spring rains are finished, the air is clean and the temperatures are moderate. It is the perfect weather to go out to the nurseries in search of new plants. I managed to find my way to the Fullerton Arboretum this morning and was well pleased not only by the selection of unusual plants, but the friendly voluteers that staff the "potting shed". I purchased this Tepin Chile for only 50 cents! Unfortunately, the bulk of their pepper plants, including the Blushing Beauty pepper I was looking for, sold out in their tomato and pepper sale last weekend.

I continued my search for another red bell pepper to the larger Armstrong nursery near Fullerton. There were no more Red Beauty peppers to be had. There was a lone California Wonder on the table among an assortment of hot chiles and Gypsy Peppers. So I decided to get the California Wonder, although it is not a favorite and a Chilepin Chile. This will complete my pepper bed for 2005. Both the California Wonder and the Chilepin have been placed into my pepper bed. I am hesitant about planting the Tepin though. It is still small and I fear that if I put it into the soil, the cutworms will get it.

April 28, 2005

First Pepper Plants of 2005

My first batch of pepper transplants are now in their bed. As you can see by the picture, my soaker hose system is still not quite where it should be. I need to find some guides to keep the hose in the proper place for watering, but that will come in time. I haven't needed to do much watering due to the excess rainfall that we've been experiencing this spring, but my peppers, herbs and roses have loved the extra water.

The chilies are as follows from back to front: Gypsy Bell, Yellow Bell, Purple Beauty Bell, Fresno, Cayenne, Red Caribbean Habanero, and Thai Dragon. I'm planting the bells singly and the chilies are side by side since they tend to be smaller plants.

April 27, 2005

Fushcia Basket

One of my local nurseries was having a sale on common variety fushcias, so I treated myself to a little pink and white one. I find these sort of fushcias to be very hardy. I have one that has been in a basket for over four years. I have paired this plant with two white bopocas. Both are just starting to take off, blooming fabulously.

April 26, 2005

Soaker Hoses

I had tried to set up my new soaker hose watering system last week, but discovered that I needed a female to female connection to complete the loop. Fortunately, I had a kindly elderly man in an orange apron not only explain what I needed to finish my hose system, but he even went to the other side of the store to get the part for me! Now that is service.

This afternoon, I put all the hoses together and turned on the faucet. Water sprayed everywhere! However, I put some elbow grease into the connections and managed to get most of the spraying under control. Libby and I ended up with an unexpected bath is all. I did notice that the hose is brushing against the small pepper plants in places, but I think that if I purchase some guides, that should solve the problem.

Meanwhile, my hunt for pepper plants continues. I placed an order with The Chile Woman a few days ago. This will fill the seven spaces I had left for hot chiles. As I was surfing the Fullerton Arboretum website, I came upon their potting shed plant sale list. There, many of the chiles I have been wanting were offered. I'm glad that I did the mail order since I've heard great things about the chile woman, but I think that I'll go to Fullerton this weekend and see if I can find a Blushing Beauty Bell. It is probably my favorite pepper and I will be disappointed if I end up without having one in my garden this year. It was listed as one of the plants they carry, but I will have to see if they have any in stock.

April 21, 2005

Peppers are Planted

This afternoon, I planted all of my pepper plants. I left a space for one more red bell pepper and seven more hot chile varieties as I can find them. I think the new wider spacing might work better this year. I am planting one bell per cinderblock space and two chile plants per cinderblock space. Basically, this gives 18" around each plant. I thought that the peppers were too close last year so this should solve that problem. I am also going to try and fill in my entire bed this year instead of leaving some of it fallow as I did last year.

April 13, 2005

Another Herb Garden on my Patio

A second potted herb garden now resides on the other side of my kitchen door. The pair of them brings a note of symmetry to my kitchen patio. This herb pot holds Lemon Thyme, Stevia, Onion Chives, Marjoram, and Garlic Chives. I've already cut some of the marjoram for a recipe this week.

April 12, 2005

New Pepper Transplants

The new pepper transplants are waiting to be placed into the pepper bed. Meanwhile, they are getting plenty of sunshine and water.

April 11, 2005

Mel Barthomew Speaks at the Mission

On April 8th, I paid a visit to the San Juan Capistrano Mission where Mel Barthomew of "Square Foot Gardening" fame held a lecture beside the mission's square foot garden. Mel's gardening book has been like a bible to me in my efforts to grow chiles and other vegetables, so it was a real pleasure to get to see him in person. I got my book signed too!

The square foot garden at the mission is simply lovely. They had many examples of different vegetables growing and some neat ideas of flowers to plant in the borders. If you get a chance to visit the mission, I highly recommend going to visit their square foot garden exhibit.

April 09, 2005

No Chile Plants Available Yet!

I was back at Roger's Gardens today. It is where I purchased the herbs for my new herb garden pot. I was hoping to find the specialty hot chile plants that they said would be stocked this year. I was disappointed again. Evidently the plants were effected by the unusually cold weather we've been experiencing here in Southern California and the supplier is three weeks late. I'm to call back in a few days to see if they've arrived.

I do have a small assortment of generic chile plants. Fresnos, Cayenne, and Thai Dragon. I have one variety, Caribean Red Habanero. I will continue my search for peppers for another week, but at that point I'm calling it off and ordering from the catolog.

April 04, 2005

The Hunt for Hot Peppers

I made my pilgramage to three nurseries this morning. Two Home Depots and Armstrong's Nursery. There are more pepper seedlings out there on the shelves, but so far not the ones that I want to place into my salsa garden. The labels are very generic and I'm not sure of the varieties that are being offered.

I hit paydirt at the second Home Depot that I visited. A four pack of Fresno Peppers for only $2.00 and a single pepper labeled "Yellow Bell". I'm not sure about the bell pepper, but since I had not selected a variety of yellow bell for this year, but knew that I wanted to grow at least one, I picked it up. It was $1.50. All the plants look very healthy and well established.

I also picked up a generic fuschia. I'm not sure where I'm going to put it, but it is covered with buds and seems very healthy. I'll find a place for it! The flowers are pink and white.

So far, my little herb garden is doing fine. It is getting enough sun in its location next to my kitchen door. My dog has been leaving the plants alone. The most she's done is sniff the parsley right after I cut a few leaves for my breakfast the other day. I'm growing encouraged by this. This might be the year that I can put plants out on my patio again.