March 13, 2008

Monster Tomato and Pepper Sale

It is time for the annual Monster Tomato and Pepper Sale at the Fullerton Arboretum. This is the yearly sale where I normally pick up my chile pepper plants for the year. The Fullerton Arboretum is well known in my area for promoting gardening and they host wonderful seminars for both adults and children throughout the year. The pepper and tomato sale is their biggest fund raiser and I always look forward to it each year.

I went prepared. I have a little luggage cart with bungee cords and I made sure that I popped into the back of my SUV before I took off. The sale is held in the garden's potting shed and it is a bit of a distance to walk. When you are loaded down with little pots of plants, it can be a long haul back to the car. When I arrived at the Arboretum around 11am, I had to put my SUV in a queue since the entire parking lot was full. I was very surprised by the crowd, but then again, it was a bright sunny day and I could not be the only one wanting to be first in line to pick out the best plants before the weekend. The volunteer staff was organized and as soon as a parking space opened up, they guided the next driver in line to it. I found that the line went quickly. People got in, bought their plants and then went home in an orderly fashion.

When I arrived, I got myself a little cardboard box that the volunteers provide for free, strapped it into my luggage cart and then proceeded to go down the isles of chile and pepper plants. Overall, I was somewhat disappointed by the selection of peppers this year. Many of the more exotic chiles that I have found there in the past were not available this year. I picked up a single Tepin chile, one rocotillo and two long thin cayenne chile plants. Of the belles I purchased: 2 blushing beauty, 1 araine, 1 quatro de gallo. I did not purchase any heirloom tomatoes this year. I am still rather upset over dealing with the possum last year and decided to not bother until I can figure out a way to hang them and grow tomatoes upside down. This will keep the next harvest out of the grip of future poachers. With my little luggage cart, it was very easy to get my new little seedlings back to the SUV and thus back to my garden.

I've been looking over my garden this afternoon and I'm glad to say many of my plants survived the winter. Two cherry bomb chiles, one lemon drop, one pepperoncini, the fatali, red scotch bonnet, kung pao chile and the two italian horn pepper plants. While I'm sorry that close to half of the chiles didn't survive our cooler winter, in a way it is good since I will have room for new fresh plants.

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