Friday, July 20, 2007

Hot Peppers

I'm not much of a gardener. I do know how to garden. And I do enjoy gardening. I just don't consider myself that successful at it. Perhaps it is because I come from long lines (on both sides of my family) of fabulous gardeners and I keep comparing myself. Both grandmas had gorgeous vegetables and flowers...My mother still raises a fine garden...And then there is me. :)
The one vegetable I can grow-which I don't remember being a strong suit with any of my family members-is the hot pepper. The first ones I ever planted were just because Clancy wanted them. I hated green peppers (the only kind I had tried), and I'm not a fan of hot food either. But Clancy loves spicy food and wanted some for his cooking so I gave it a try. Turns out, I love home grown peppers. Any kind. All kinds. I'm crazy about peppers now.
My all time favorite little pepper is Black Hungarian. I found it through Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. It has the best flavor ever! The fragrance alone is wonderful. It is also a favorite of my sister and her husband from El Salvador. She's been hinting that I might want to share some of what's left in my dried pepper supply. I really should. But I didn't plant any Black Hungarians this year so it's my last...Oh, but I really should. She's a great sister. :)
This year I planted Clancy's favorite medium hot pepper, Beaver Dam. I also planted a red bell called King of the North, and the nice little pepper shown in the photo: Wenk's Yellow Hot. I can't wait to try that one out. I like to add a bit to my hummus instead of powdered Cayenne. I hope it can pull it off like the Black Hungarian.
Each year I try to get a little better at the gardening thing. This year I did not make great strides in that direction. I managed to put in the pepper and tomato transplants, and put in a few herbs, and that was about it. Clancy has a little corn and green bean operation going in another bed, but I'm not involved in that. For a couple that does almost everything together, we go our separate directions with the vegetable crops. He likes to try out his methods and I like to try out mine. Clancy is quite adept at growing delicious water melons, squash, beans, etc. I grow the peppers and a few herbs that were highly valued for some medicinal purpose once upon a time. My artimesia absinthum (sp)(otherwise known as wormwood) is a sight to behold-almost 5 feet tall! A little wormwood goes a long way...say a teaspoonful for a bad case of internal parasites. I grew it for the sheep. Whenever I rotate them past the garden I give them full access to it. They will nibble the first leaves of it in spring when it is tender. After that they taste it and walk away. But at least they could eat it if they needed to.
The mullein does well too. But I didn't plant that, it just comes up on it's own and lends a majestic, legitimate look to the otherwise barren little patch I try to cultivate. After three year's of trying, I finally have two tiny echinacea seedlings. They grow great guns down the road at Mom's house so I figure I'm just cursed.

Which is why I am so proud of the peppers. Every spring I work really hard to get all the transplants into my collection of pots. And then for some miraculous reason, they thrive. Thank heaven for small mercies...and little hot peppers!


Gail V said...

I loved your garden writing, Sabrina. I am a gardener too, no better or worse than you or the relatives you compare yourself too-- what shows you are a gardener is the joy that comes through your writing.
My only wish is that lambing didn't keep me SOOO busy now that I miss the window of time when I should be planting seedlings indoors. My garden is getting in later and later. Anyway, now I know one more reason you should stop as you drive north by my farm-- I am sure I have some plants you'll want for your gardens.

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

I look forward to the day when I can stop by your farm and visit with you. Thank you for the compliments on my writing. I've always wanted to be a writer in some capacity but experienced major writer's block since about the time the boys were born. Wonder why? :) I started the blog mainly to have a "farm website" and have realized that the thing I love best about the blog is actually writing on it. It's been such a fulfilling outlet.
This summer I am babying a transplant of anise hyssop. It makes the most delicious licorice tea. If I can get it to take off, I'll try to bring you a chunk of it for your garden when I visit someday. Take care.

Gail V said...

Hi Again!
I will like anise hyssop. . . again, and in a small way. . . but be warned, it seeded itself all over my Minneapolis garden last time I had it. Of course the same was true of sage, and lemon balm, and I've got them growing again, out here. I never tried it as tea, and that sounds lovely. A pal just gave me lemon balm cuttings and told me to make tea from that.
Yes, your writing is spectacular, I'm glad you are finding it so fun.