July 14, 2009

Garden Cleanup

Since it has been too hot to go outside during the day, I waited until 7pm this evening to go out and do my gardening. I pulled out all the dried husks of chile plants, put away the metal cages and pulled out what few weeds there were. A few of my old chile plants have survived. The fatali, the red scotch bonnet, a half dead cherry bomb, my yellow canary bell and what I believe is some sort of jalapeno. I also have the two blushing beauty bells that I purchased this spring. My salsa garden has never been this sparse before, but then again I haven't been putting in the effort into my garden this year as I normally do.

My husband is requesting that I devote more space to herbs since he discovered this year that he enjoys fresh basil leaves in his sandwiches, so that might be something that I look into over the next few weeks. The only herb that I have right now are the chives. Nothing kills those babies.

Why did so many of my plants die? It was because my soaker hose system has broken. One of the hoses has sprung a huge leak and needs to be replaced. I went to look for a replacement at the Home Depot this morning, but I couldn't find the part that I needed. I will try other hardware stores later. The timer also is not working. It probably needs a new battery. Once I get these two things working again, my salsa garden should be back to taking care of itself once again.

July 03, 2009

Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

I discovered a new chile recipe on a blog called Homesick Texan. I gave it a try with chiles from my garden. I used homemade habanero powder for the cayenne in the recipe and a hot cherry bomb instead of the serrano. It turned out very good. I used it as a dipper for celery sticks and carrots. It is spicy and much better than the hidden ranch dressing I normally use...and far less expensive to make.

Buttermilk dressing, extra spicy
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 serrano pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and let chill for an hour.
Makes 1 cup, keeps for a week in the refrigerator.
Notes: I like my dressing on the thinner side, so if you prefer it thicker use 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. And if you don't want it to be so spicy, feel free to omit the Serrano or substitute a jalapeno pepper instead. Also, you can use parsley instead of cilantro if you're one of those "Cilantro tastes like soap" people, I won't be insulted.

June 25, 2009

Sunshine Returns!

This has to have been the coldest and wettest June that I can remember. It had been overcast every day and it rained as if I were back in Washington State! It was uncanny. However, that cold front seems to have finally left. The sunshine is back and my roses are blooming with gusto. I was outside watering all the plants this afternoon with my sunhat on, flipflops and shorts. The splash of the water on my feet felt wonderful. Little lizards scurried away and butterflies mingle in the brushes of salvia among the flowers. I'm contemplating a few baskets of flowers and to plant up my central whiskey barrel. Right now, the barrel only has weeds in it. Our annual summer BBQ is only four weeks away and I want our gardens to look up to par.

My pepper plants have not fared as well. The cold weather had stunted their growth and I have lost several of the plants this spring. I am going to have to take a survey of the damage and see what I can do to recover my little vegetable garden. The first task will be to fix the broken watering system. The timer is not working and I've sprung a huge leak in one of the drip hoses. I will need to replace a few things before the hot summer heat arrives in full force.

May 27, 2009

Memorial Weekend Gardening

I was able to find time this Memorial Day Weekend to do a bit of puttering in my garden. All of the wandering jew plants that have trespassed under the fence from my neighbor's side yard have been removed. The gravel paths are clear and my overwintered chiles are doing fine. I still haven't planted the two blushing beauty pepper plants that I purchased last month, but both plants are alive and well in their little root bound containers. I am hoping to find a little more time this week to continue my efforts in my garden patch now that school is almost over and my Spring work season has come to a close. I lost a few of my chiles this winter, but the majority are still going strong and putting out new chiles. You have to love California weather.

Its going to be so nice to have a bit of extra time this summer to take care of the house and tend to things. I'm looking forward to finishing the garden up and perhaps taking a few photos for the garden blog.

April 16, 2009

Blushing Beauties

I happened to be at our local feed store when I glanced into their gardening plant section. They had a pair of blushing beauty pepper plants, both of a good healthy size, for sale. I snatched them for my garden. These are the only peppers that I've purchased for the garden this year. I went to my annual Monster Tomato and Pepper Sale at the Fullerton Arboretum this March, but all the peppers had sold out in the first few hours of the sale...all 10K of them! Due to work, I will not be able to go to Greenscene this year either, so I figured that I was not going to be able to buy pepper plants this year.

My garden is a total wreck right now. I did not go out and weed at all this winter and the wandering jew plant has completely overgrown my raised beds. This plant is on my neighbor's property and left unchecked, overruns my property each year. I managed to save most of my pepper plants from last year, we had a mild winter and only two or three of my pepper plants died. So perhaps I don't need to plant all that much this spring. I had lost all of my belle though, so the two ultra sweet and crisp blushing beauties will be a welcome addition to my garden.

I'll post more as my schedule permits! I do intend on gardening again this year as I normally do, although perhaps in a more scaled back fashion since I am back in college and continuing to run my small business. My free time is simply not what it was in past years.

January 25, 2009


At this time of year, there is not much going on in the garden. My plants are still alive out in the bed, despite our unseasonably cool weather. There are pods ripening on my red scotch bonnet, but I haven't picked them. Due to the cool weather I have a feeling that there is little heat to the chile pods.

I haven't done much to overwinter the chile plants. Since they are located in a protected side yard of my property, they don't have to deal with the cold wind storms that whip through our canyon. The wind is the main danger to the chiles, that and when the temperature dips too low. Sometimes the plants make it, sometimes they do not.

Sometime in the next month I am going to go through my little raised beds and clean them up. Pull out the metal cages, remove the few weeds that have gotten started, but for now I just want to keep out of the rain and the chilly day. There are chiles in the freezer and meals premade with chiles from the garden for me to enjoy at this time of year. That will have to be enough until Spring returns and I can start the process anew.