First picking of last year.
First of maaany pickings.
I was stuck at school this past weekend, and rather upset about it. I had to take an evil standardized test, PRAXIS 0113 (ie, a music content test to go be a teacher) Saturday at 7:30am, and was moping around the dorm the remainder of the time.
In an effort to lighten my heart, Mom took pictures of some of the seeds sprouting and sent them to me via her phone. This explains the somewhat debatable quality of the pictures.
As you can see, we were short on things to plant in. I had 2 dozen and a half cardboard egg cartons and 3 single dozen cartons. For what I was planning on starting, that was plenty. My mom got seeds for my dad for his birthday, though, and that quickly ran out.
So I moved into plastic cups that were 10 years old. Then paper cone shaped cups of the same age. Then toilet paper rolls we found under the bathroom counter. Then the Christmas peppers, being last, got stuck in an old Rubbermaid I accidentally threw the lid away for a few weeks ago.
We got the majority of our seeds from this wonderful dream book: The Pepper Gal. I want just about everything on her site/in her catalog. Mom got some salt peter(re? I can't spell.) On her site, she said if you soak the pepper seeds in it mixed with water, they sprout quicker, iirc. It wasn't expensive, we were shopping, so Mom got some.
Note to self: wet seeds are a pain in the posterior.
Christmas Pepper seeds coming up.
I had run out of individual containers by then.
Since we had such a bountiful pepper crop last year, it was decided we needed to do the same for this year. Well, not quite the same. All we grew last year was jalapenos, banana peppers, cayennes and Christmas peppers. And 3 tiny purple ornamental pepper plants my aunt gave us. They turn brown when pickled. :( I wanted them to keep the pretty purple.
Anyway. We use Zataran's dried bell pepper by the ton. When I had done enough batches of bread and butter banana peppers and we were tired out of stuffed ones, I started dehydrating the banana peppers. They work great in place of bell peppers.
The only thing was, it was the end of the season then. So we barely had any for long.
Mom's remedy - buy a ton of seeds this year. I think there were only 2 bell pepper packs among her purchase...yet that's what spurred the shopping spree.
Jalapenos, Banana peppers, Bell peppers, Poblano peppers, Cayennes, Green Chiles, Habaneros and gods know what else. It's okay, because we'll use them all or give them away or something. I'm excited. Oh yeah, and Cajun Belle Peppers. After reading so much about them on this awesome blog (http://oldworldgardenfarms.com/) I decided we needed to try them. So I'm guilty on that one.
Mom also got 2 packs of cherry tomato seeds and 1 pack of beefsteak tomato seeds. I'm really, really hoping they do well. I want to can some salsa BADLY. It's my dream to can some homemade salsa. I know, I need a life, but I've wanted to for years. Assuming Dad doesn't eat all the tomatoes, I'll have some for canning hopefully.
Also, in an effort to aid my hideous memory, I downloaded/printed/actually filled in this awesome little calendar/datebook/garden log thing from Little House in the Suburbs. Find it here.
Once it gets a little later, we'll stick the squash seeds in the ground, along with cucumbers and such. Dad wants to grow sweet potatoes this year, which would just make me the happiest little coonass in the world. Hopefully that works out as well, and we have enough garden space. Right now, we've got mustard greens and lettuce and green onions in the garden. It'll be pretty crowded this year in there.
My babies just growing away.
If you have any favorite pepper recipes - cooking, canning, sttuff to do with dried, anything - let me know. It looks like I'm going to have enough for some experiments. :)