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Pulpiteer 2014 Grow log - Prepping for next year!

Finally, I will get this glog going for the season.  I'm excited for lots of gardening this year, and hopefully a better harvest year this year after our cold and slow start to summer in 2013.  I hope this winter is not an indication of how summer will go, as we are having one of the snowiest winters on record.
 
Here is the pepper garden on Christmas Eve.
 
snow.jpg


Now imagine it with another 2-3 feet of snow on it. I need to get another picture. It's ridiculous.

So, what do we do? We plan for the garden!

This year's pepper grow list is a bit trimmed down. The goal is 115-120 pepper plants. We'll see.

2014 Grow list
1. Red Rocoto - Tradewinds
2. Yellow Manzano - Hooda
3. Giant Mexican Rocoto - pepperlover
4. Golden Rocoto - pepperlover
5. Scotch Bonnet MoA - Steve954
6. Scotch Bonnet Montego Bay - Pic1
7. Scotch Bonnet TFM - Pic1
8. Tobago Scotch Bonnet Yellow - pepperlover
9. Tobago Scotch Bonnet Red - pepperlover
10. Tobago Seasoning - pepperlover
11(a). Bahamian Goat - Ajijoe
11(b). Bahamian Goat - Cappy via Pic1
12. Fatali - pepperlover
13. Bhut Jolokia Red - pepperlover
14. Bhut Jolokia Peach - Ajijoe
15. Bhut Jolokia White - pepperlover
16. Bhut Indian Carbon - Ajijoe
17. Jay's Peach Ghost Scorpion - Buckeye Pepper
18. 7 Pot Yellow - Buckeye Pepper
19. HP22B (Carolina Reaper) - Buckeye Pepper
20. Yellow CARDI Scorpion - Romy6
21. Bishop's Crown - Buckeye Pepper
22. Aji Lemon - Pepperlover
23. Trinidad Morova - Pepperlover
24. Harold St. Barts Habanero - Ajijoe
25. Tonga Orange Habanero - Ajijoe
26. Birgits Locoto - Tradewinds
27. White Hab (with stinger) - PaulG
28. Cherry Bomb - Tradewinds
29. Jalapeno - Pepperjoe
30. Mulato Isleno Pablano - Tradewinds
31. Bells - to be purchased
32. Chocolate Cherry - Ajijoe
33. Trinidad Scorpion Chocolate - Buckeye Pepper
34. Jimmy Nardello - pepperlover
35. Chinese 5 Color - Ajijoe
36. Royal Black - Ajijoe
37. Explosive Ignite - Ajijoe
38. Adjoema - Ajijoe
39. 7 Pot Brain Strain Yellow - pepperlover

The numbers are given to help with labeling. I first numbered some cups - and then put in a 2/3 strength chamomile tea solution. This combats dampening off, as the tea is an anti fungal. Here they are soaking:

soaking.jpg


I decided to go back to making my own seed mix again this year. Here are the ingredients:

ingredients.jpg


Doing my own mix will make a lighter soil to start the seeds because I have a heavier concentration of sphagnum peat moss.
Here is the recipe:
5 gallons sphagnum peat moss
3 gallons compost (I used 'Dairy Doo' - a local product)
10 Tbsp Happy Frog jump start fertilizer
about 10 Tbsp of a root fertilizer
about 10 Tbsp of the shrimp shell
1 gallons vermiculite
1 gallons perlite

Here I am with my girls, mixing dirt:

mix.jpg


I put them in 72 cells per tray this year. Smaller than last year, so I'll have to pot up sooner, but you can start more in a smaller area, so I'm pleased.
I also purchased a large heat mat that covers two trays, and a smaller one for one tray, as well as a thermostat. I want the consistent heat so I can get these started. Some of the pubescens were especially difficult last year and I wanted to change that.

setup.jpg


Seeds went in soil on January 31, at night after the kids were in bed. They've been in there about 10 days now and I'm doing pretty good. Here are some seedlings:

seedlings.jpg


After a couple of weeks I'll put germination rates up.

I have also had much better luck with my overwintered plants this year. I think I had to get rid of 3 plants, but that leaves me with 7 plants. I'm thrilled with that. Once again - Greg (Pic1) has a great step by step method for bringing them indoors. It's done well by me. Anyway, I have 2 manzanos, 2 red rocotos, and 3 chinense of some variety that I lost track of. Here is a picture:

ow.jpg


I'm planning quite a bit in regards to what I'll be growing. I live in a parsonage - which is a house provided by the church while I am at this church. In the Methodist system I could be moved any time, which sucks, but we don't tend to be moved as much as you military folk, usually. Anyway, the struggle is do I plant fruits and perennials knowing I could be moved? I have decided to go for it, and am filling up my little lawn. I used google maps to get a satellite shot of my yard, then traced over that picture in Illustrator, and it gave me a drawing to scale of the property so I could plan where to put stuff. Here it is:

grow-map-2.jpg


I've already ordered more stuff, but as you can see, I have or am putting in several different things, such as:
4 Currants
Autumn Olive
3 Kinds of Asian Pear
June Berry
Jerusalem artichoke
3 nanking Cherries
3 kinds of blueberries
Gooseberry
Horseradish
Hardy Kiwi
rhubarb
jostaberry
gogiberry
raspberries
and several herbs
as well as annuals

I'm trying to start some bearberry - which I've never done before. It needs to be scarified and cold stratified. Basically, you need to replicate what would happen in the north if the berry was eaten by a bear in the fall. So I scarred it with a nail file, put it in 180 degree water for 20 minutes, then put the seed in a freezer baggy and into the freezer for 2 months. Then I'll plant it and wait for 1-2 months. If this thing sprouts, I'll feel like a hero!

bearberry.jpg


Anyway, that's the sort of thing I'm messing around with. I've got more experiments and stuff I'll show along the way, as well as my companion planting I'll do. I want more flowers earlier in the year this year for beneficial insects. We'll see.

In closing - here I am with my younger daughter. It's our grumpy faces to scare away winter.

grumpy.jpg


Thanks for stopping by!
 

Sawyer

Extreme Member
Welcome to 2014, Andy.  Nice list.  And perma-culture is where it's at.  Even if you have to leave, you'll leave the place in better shape (assuming the next tenant is like-minded). 
 
You're going to like that thermostat on the heater mat.  It took me almost a month to get my temperatures stabilized without one.  Once germination starts to taper off, you might want to try fluctuating the temperature some, say from 78ºF to 84ºF, back and forth.  Sometimes that will jump start some slow starters.
 
Man, it's going to be spring soon now, I'm sure of it.  That grumpy face is bound to put Old Man Winter on his heels.
 
Hey Andy,
I'm glad to see this glog start up.........snow boots and all.......ha
Hopefully the cold spell that we're having will put a halt to the ow insects in the ground,and
all the melted snow will add early mineral water for the ground (broadcast some 10-10-10 on top of it before it all melts).

Nice seed list, similar to mine and I like the process with the cups, tea and home blended starter mix. No rockwool or starter cubes for me, I've always had great luck with the seed starting blends/vermiculite. Besides all the area nurseries always start up their seed the same way with a bit more fine grade perlite with no issues. Best of luck with the rest of the germination.

Wow, your OW's look robust with growth...............I'll have to try your process next time I overwinter..........heh

I like the list of (more stuff ordered !) Both of my sisters have alot of what's on there. Unfortunately I don't have the space for any.....I wish there was room for the "berries".

Bearberry sounds interesting...be patient with the start. I've had Hawaiian Bird of Paradise and Ti seeds/root stock that were difficult to start...That's when I soaked them in a dilution of Nitrate of Potash (Salt Petre)....let's just say that "cracked the nut".

Your daughter is a "mini you".....to a tee.........tell her that was a complement.

Looking forward to following this like a "Big Ten" sporting event !
 
 Nice to see you back in action again Andy. Like Greg said top notch operation and the OW's look spectacular. 
 
Best of luck in 2014 my brother  :dance: Your daughter is too cute  :party:
 
Sawyer said:
Welcome to 2014, Andy.  Nice list.  And perma-culture is where it's at.  Even if you have to leave, you'll leave the place in better shape (assuming the next tenant is like-minded). 
 
You're going to like that thermostat on the heater mat.  It took me almost a month to get my temperatures stabilized without one.  Once germination starts to taper off, you might want to try fluctuating the temperature some, say from 78ºF to 84ºF, back and forth.  Sometimes that will jump start some slow starters.
 
Man, it's going to be spring soon now, I'm sure of it.  That grumpy face is bound to put Old Man Winter on his heels.
 
Thanks - yes with those grumpy faces, how could winter hang around?
 
I'll keep that in mind if I have some that are picky on germinating, thanks.  I find the temp drops a ton when I remove the humidity dome, but now that I have several seedlings, I need to take those off soon.  So they may get that fluctuation whether I plan it or not. 
 
You comment on leaving the yard a better place is true and very permaculture-y!  Although, to be honest, I'm digging up as many plants as I can because I have some money sunk into those now.  However, I have done a lot of work building soil - and it's been long term soil building, so you are absolutely right.  If the next person wants a garden, they'll have a great spot.
I hope to show some permaculture stuff with the different things I'll plant this spring.  We'll see.  It's fun to learn and try.
 
PIC 1 said:
Hey Andy,
I'm glad to see this glog start up.........snow boots and all.......ha
Hopefully the cold spell that we're having will put a halt to the ow insects in the ground,and
all the melted snow will add early mineral water for the ground (broadcast some 10-10-10 on top of it before it all melts).

Nice seed list, similar to mine and I like the process with the cups, tea and home blended starter mix. No rockwool or starter cubes for me, I've always had great luck with the seed starting blends/vermiculite. Besides all the area nurseries always start up their seed the same way with a bit more fine grade perlite with no issues. Best of luck with the rest of the germination.

Wow, your OW's look robust with growth...............I'll have to try your process next time I overwinter..........heh

I like the list of (more stuff ordered !) Both of my sisters have alot of what's on there. Unfortunately I don't have the space for any.....I wish there was room for the "berries".

Bearberry sounds interesting...be patient with the start. I've had Hawaiian Bird of Paradise and Ti seeds/root stock that were difficult to start...That's when I soaked them in a dilution of Nitrate of Potash (Salt Petre)....let's just say that "cracked the nut".

Your daughter is a "mini you".....to a tee.........tell her that was a complement.

Looking forward to following this like a "Big Ten" sporting event !
 
Yeah Greg, feel free to copy "my" overwintering method any time!  ;) 
I only lost the three plants, but they had some issue that came in with them.  It wasn't bugs though, and my main goal is having them live through the winter and get a huge start in the spring.  It's looking great now.  So I should have some early peppers. 
 
I was thinking the same thing about the snow adding to the water table.  In fact, in my more optimistic moments, I look out at those piles of snow and think - 'that's some good water for the plants.' 
 
I've never tried the Salt Petre, but I may have to.  It would be a good method to learn - it's like adding to my gardening toolbox. 
 
Stay warm down there in the windy city!
 
romy6 said:
 Nice to see you back in action again Andy. Like Greg said top notch operation and the OW's look spectacular. 
 
Best of luck in 2014 my brother  :dance: Your daughter is too cute  :party:
 
Good to hear from you Jamie!  I'm excited by the OW's - they are looking good.  I mean, I'm not harvesting pods right now like some people, but...
 
Not too much to add this week. Things are moving along, slow but sure.

Most of my stuff has done well. For example, the MoA Scotch Bonnets germinated wonderfully!

moa.jpg


Some other stuff I had to replant, which I did on Saturday. Here are my results thus far:

2014 Grow list
1. Red Rocoto - Tradewinds 4/6
2. Yellow Manzano - Hooda 0/6 replanted
3. Giant Mexican Rocoto - pepperlover 5/6
4. Golden Rocoto - pepperlover 0/6
5. Scotch Bonnet MoA - Steve954 6/6
6. Scotch Bonnet Montego Bay - Pic1 5/6
7. Scotch Bonnet TFM - Pic1 6/6
8. Tobago Scotch Bonnet Yellow - pepperlover 0/6 replanted
9. Tobago Scotch Bonnet Red - pepperlover 4/4
10. Tobago Seasoning - pepperlover 2/4
11(a). Bahamian Goat - Ajijoe 4/4
11(b). Bahamian Goat - Cappy via Pic1 0/4 replanted with Ajijoe seed
12. Fatali - pepperlover 2/4
13. Bhut Jolokia Red - pepperlover 6/6 planted more
14. Bhut Jolokia Peach - Ajijoe 6/6
15. Bhut Jolokia White - pepperlover 6/6
16. Bhut Indian Carbon - Ajijoe 2/2
17. Jay's Peach Ghost Scorpion - Buckeye Pepper 6/6
18. 7 Pot Yellow - Buckeye Pepper 4/4
19. HP22B (Carolina Reaper) - Buckeye Pepper 3/6
20. Yellow CARDI Scorpion - Romy6 0/4
21. Bishop's Crown - Buckeye Pepper 8/10 planted more
22. Aji Lemon - Pepperlover 6/6
23. Trinidad Morova - Pepperlover 2/2 planted more
24. Harold St. Barts Habanero - Ajijoe 4/6 planted more
25. Tonga Orange Habanero - Ajijoe 4/4
26. Birgits Locoto - Tradewinds 4/4
27. White Hab (with stinger) - PaulG 2/2
28. Cherry Bomb - Tradewinds 4/8 replanted some
29. Jalapeno - Pepperjoe 2/2
30. Mulato Isleno Pablano - Tradewinds 1/1
31. Bells - to be purchased
32. Chocolate Cherry - Ajijoe 4/6
33. Trinidad Scorpion Chocolate - Buckeye Pepper 3/3
34. Jimmy Nardello - pepperlover 2/4
35. Chinese 5 Color - Ajijoe 2/2
36. Royal Black - Ajijoe 0/2 replanted
37. Explosive Ignite - Ajijoe 1/2
38. Adjoema - Ajijoe 3/4
39. 7 Pot Brain Strain Yellow - pepperlover 0/2 planted more

Some takeaways for me this time around:
  • I think 2-3 years seems to be it for the seeds. After that, I think they really seem to hit a marked drop off in germinating. At least from my stuff. I think that is why none of the CARDI scorps germinated. Maybe I'll get one late, but it's not looking good.
  • I planted 2 per cell, usually, so the numbers above are not strict germination rates, really, instead they show the number of cells that germinated. I know it doesn't give me a percentage to go by every year, but I can still see a general pattern of what is working.
  • The ones I replanted or planted more of were an adjustment based off of what ended up germinating. Some I could not replant since I was out of seeds. The Golden Rocotos, for example, just seemed to be bad seed since I couldn't get them to go last year either. The Giant Mexican Rocotos were some I got this year from pepperlover that did not grow last year for me. I am thrilled to have several of them germinating.

Other pics
Mrs. Pulpiteer made some chili (I know, it has beans, we are in the north, I like beans and still call it chili). It tasted wonderful. And for a little kick I added some powder from PaulG - just right!

powder.jpg


I'm planning on selling some pepper jelly this summer at the farmer's market in town, so I made up some labels.

jelly.jpg


Another project, I'm infusing some vinegar with these peppers, mostly dried yellow 7's, I believe. I'm doing this per Pic1's instructions, although I could not find the fancy vinegar he uses. I guess you have more selection in Chicago than you do where I live. :surprised:  These have been soaking for several weeks. They turned the vinegar yellow.  Oh, and behind the vinegar is 7 quarts of applesauce my wife and I canned tonight.  One of the local orchards is still selling some surplus apples for a pretty good price, so we took advantage.

vinegar.jpg


Finally, we got about another foot of snow tonight, maybe more. It's ugly. Here's a shot of the driveway. The snow shoveling is wearing me out. It feels so Sisyphean to shovel the snow, then look out an hour later to see the drive covered again. There are spots that are shoulder high to me, which has to be 5 to 5/1 feet of snow piled up from the shoveling this winter. You can also see my office aglow with grow lights for my seedlings.

snow.jpg


Spring is coming, they say... 


Thanks for stopping by!


 
 
Hi Andy!
 
I had to track this glog down, I think I saw John (Sawyer) make mention. Things here @ THP are moving so quickly it's blowing my mind. Just no way to keep up, I struggle with just going to peeps I met last season here.
 
Snow you got!, It's been quite sometime since I had to deal with it, like 36 years. But I have to say this, the ground WILL soak all that valuable moisture up, something we're not getting here for way too long.
 
I'm glad your daughters are interested in helping Dad prepare things. They're both cuties!
 
Grow list is both ambitious and impressive!
 
Here's to season of 2014, may it bring a early warm spring.
 
Good luck!
 
I was wondering if you had started a glog yet ...
 
I feel your pain on the snow shoveling.  We've had a LOT of snow melt the past couple of weeks, but before that the sides of my driveway looked just like yours.  Shoveled so much snow that I dislocated my collar bone!
 
Nice grow list you've got there, and I love all of the wonderful fruits, herbs, etc, that you are adding to the landscape.  
 

Sawyer

Extreme Member
Pulpiteer said:
The Giant Mexican Rocotos were some I got this year from pepperlover that did not grow last year for me. I am thrilled to have several of them germinating.
 
I'm glad to hear that.  I had no luck last year either, but have them planted again, from the same source.  Food shots look great.  I bet that cranzano goes like hot cakes.
 
highalt said:
  Shoveled so much snow that I dislocated my collar bone!
 
Ouch!
 
Devv said:
Hi Andy!
 
I had to track this glog down, I think I saw John (Sawyer) make mention. Things here @ THP are moving so quickly it's blowing my mind. Just no way to keep up, I struggle with just going to peeps I met last season here.
 
Snow you got!, It's been quite sometime since I had to deal with it, like 36 years. But I have to say this, the ground WILL soak all that valuable moisture up, something we're not getting here for way too long.
 
I'm glad your daughters are interested in helping Dad prepare things. They're both cuties!
 
Grow list is both ambitious and impressive!
 
Here's to season of 2014, may it bring a early warm spring.
 
Good luck!
 
 
Glad you found it!  Yeah, the glogs are hard to follow.  I get busy and miss a few days and then it's hard to catch up. 
As far as the snow, yeah, this will help our water table a lot, plus whatever trace minerals and whatever else the snow caught on its way down.  It'll be good for the earth.  It'll also be good when it's spring :)
 
 
 
highalt said:
I was wondering if you had started a glog yet ...
 
I feel your pain on the snow shoveling.  We've had a LOT of snow melt the past couple of weeks, but before that the sides of my driveway looked just like yours.  Shoveled so much snow that I dislocated my collar bone!
 
Nice grow list you've got there, and I love all of the wonderful fruits, herbs, etc, that you are adding to the landscape.  
 
Dislocated collar bone - oh no!  I can't complain anymore.  I hope you're feeling better. 
As far as the fruits, I hope a couple of the things I added last year begin to give a little fruit.  It's fun to try these new things out - and as a fellow jelly maker you know - throw them into a jam or jelly and see how they taste.
 
Sawyer said:
 
I'm glad to hear that.  I had no luck last year either, but have them planted again, from the same source.  Food shots look great.  I bet that cranzano goes like hot cakes.
 
 
We'll see.  I'm looking forward to trying to sell them.  I think they taste pretty good, but it'll take the right person who likes a bit of heat to want some.  However, my theory is that people who really do like some heat will really want to try the jelly.
 
Andy, great to see you up and running, looks like a really great grow planned for this year. That's a nice list too. Good variety in heat and flavors. Probably seems odd right now thinking that in another couple of months all that white stuff will be gone and ready for you to get those babies planted out, well just looking at all the white stuff and more still coming down. Been a tough winter all around this year. Looking at your site map I'm seeing those 4 big Maples, are you planning to tap them this year? Betting there's nothing better than the taste of maple syrup right from your own trees. Oh and if you get any more of those apples PM me and I'll send you my recipe for Bourbon Fatalii Apple Butter. My kids love it too, well without the Fatalii in there.
 
Prayers for a great grow brother!
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Hey, Andy!  Welcome to the 2014 season; been waiting for you to make an
appearance!  Your yard/garden plan is awesome, should be beautiful when
you are done getting it in.  Your grow list is impressive - 115-120 plants?  
Woah, buddy, that's a serious grow!
 
I hope the 'Giant White Hab' grows out well for you.  The pods should be big,
yellow and have some great stingers on them.  So far every plant I've started
from that line has produced some awesome pods.  Glad you liked the powder;
that was one of my favorites.
 
Have a great season, bro!
 
RocketMan said:
Andy, great to see you up and running, looks like a really great grow planned for this year. That's a nice list too. Good variety in heat and flavors. Probably seems odd right now thinking that in another couple of months all that white stuff will be gone and ready for you to get those babies planted out, well just looking at all the white stuff and more still coming down. Been a tough winter all around this year. Looking at your site map I'm seeing those 4 big Maples, are you planning to tap them this year? Betting there's nothing better than the taste of maple syrup right from your own trees. Oh and if you get any more of those apples PM me and I'll send you my recipe for Bourbon Fatalii Apple Butter. My kids love it too, well without the Fatalii in there.
 
Prayers for a great grow brother!
Thanks Bill! I'm feeling good with the varieties - each year I figure out some favorites and try some new ones. It does seem weird to think that the snow will melt and there will be grass out there eventually. Well, not so much grass in my lawn, but you get the point. I think we've had snow on the ground solid since November, which is actually pretty rare. So the winter is kind of wearing on people up here. Spring will be much appreciated.

I just got some more taps this year so I can tap another tree - yep we'll get making more syrup if all goes as planned. It really is pretty cool to get it from your own trees. That apple butter sounds good - I don't think we'll get apples until fall now though. But email me the recipe - sounds tasty!

Oh, and here's a picture of some of your sauce being put to good use tonight:

rocketman.jpg


 
PaulG said:
Hey, Andy!  Welcome to the 2014 season; been waiting for you to make an
appearance!  Your yard/garden plan is awesome, should be beautiful when
you are done getting it in.  Your grow list is impressive - 115-120 plants?  
Woah, buddy, that's a serious grow!
 
I hope the 'Giant White Hab' grows out well for you.  The pods should be big,
yellow and have some great stingers on them.  So far every plant I've started
from that line has produced some awesome pods.  Glad you liked the powder;
that was one of my favorites.
 
Have a great season, bro!
Thanks Paul! It's a big grow, but I have slowly been cutting back over the past few years, so this is actually a smaller pepper grow than last year. It's a lot of work on plant out day. Those Giant White Habs germinated great - I actually just potted them up tonight into my 3x3 pots to give them room to grow.

The powder has been great - thanks!



Ok, another quick sauce pic - this one from a sauce from Pic1 (Greg) - the other night we had stir fry, and this worked wonderfully on it!

pic1.jpg


I started another round of seeds a little over a week ago to make up for stuff that hadn't germinated yet. Well, one of the types: Yellow Brain Strains have popped up nicely the last few days:

ybrain.jpg


I did a bit of work tonight. I potted up several plants - here are some MoA Scotch Bonnets

moa2.jpg


And here is one after its move up to a 3x3 pot:

moa.jpg


After potting up, here is what it looked like with the first 36 potted up. More will follow over the next week or two:

potup.jpg


So those were moved downstairs into the grow-cube.  I had a fan on them for awhile, so you can see some bent over.  I've got to strengthen them up though.  With the low light in the germinating area, they were on the verge of getting leggy.  Time to beef them up.

Also in the grow-cube are my overwinters. Although they will move upstairs by a window as this area fills up:

ow.jpg


One of my manzanos actually formed a pod. We'll see where this goes, but I'm pleased:

manzano.jpg


Finally, I had a few seedlings to cull. And I hate doing that. But my grow cube is already limited in size. So I threw them into this container, all jumbled up, and am thinking I'll let the strongest one win. It'll be my Darwin pot. I'll have no clue what the winning pepper variety will be, but it will be the one that survived. Like the Highlander pepper or something:

darwin.jpg


Alright - that's what I've got for now.

Thanks for stopping by!
 
It has been about a month, wow. 
There have been some particularly challenging things going on at work the past month.  The winter has hit us hard, increasing bills while decreasing attendance, and just after I thought we got that all straightened out, I got some news last week that was finalized last Sunday and formally announced today: we are being moved.
 
For those of you unfamiliar with United Methodist ways of doing things, pastors are appointed on an annual basis, and there comes a time after you have been at your current location long enough that you are moved.  This particular move is difficult because neither I nor the church asked for it.  It just came down from the Bishop, so we will be moving in the middle of June.  This, of course, throws a few challenges into the gardening season.
I am hoping to be able to still plant several peppers, but it's a strange situation because I'll be moving in, but also asking to dig up the yard early in order to plant stuff, and they don't know me yet, so it's pushing my luck, but I kind of want the garden to keep me sane during a transition year.  On top of that, I have several bushes, trees, and other perennials that I intend to move.  So if you're the praying type, I'd appreciate it.  If you're the positive vibe/thought type, I'll take those too.  It's been a difficult month.
 
But, some good news, with the thaw that is occurring on again off again up here, I've tapped the Maple trees:
 
sap.jpg


I've collected about 15 gallons of sap thus far. The ratio is roughly 40 gallons of sap for 1 gallon of maple syrup, so it's a good start!

I have been busy with the numerous seedlings I have underway. I have potted up almost all of the keepers into my 3x3 pots.

peppers1.jpg


peppers2.jpg


peppers3.jpg


And here's a closer shot of some of them:

peppers4.jpg


Things are coming along pretty decent. I think the major drawback of putting the seedlings in the basement is the lower temperature slows down the growth a bit.

Last time I introduced you to my "darwin pot" - in which I put some seedlings I did not plan on keeping, but didn't want to totally cull. Again, the gameplan is to let them grow out until just one pepper remains - Highlander style. There can only be one.

darwin.jpg


The difficult thing is I have some seedlings that should be potted up if I want to keep them, but I really don't have room. But boy they look nice:

extras.jpg


And there it is. Things are moving along, but the big challenge will be the upcoming move. It is frustrating to leave behind all this soil that I have been working on so hard. Time to start all over again...

Thanks for stopping by!
 
Plants are looking stellar!
 
Sorry about the move, I know you put a ton of love and work into the soil at your current stay.
 
Good luck at the new place and may they welcome your garden!
 
Devv said:
Plants are looking stellar!
 
Sorry about the move, I know you put a ton of love and work into the soil at your current stay.
 
Good luck at the new place and may they welcome your garden!
Thanks Scott! I've been talking to folks there quite a bit and I think the garden will be welcome - which is great! I'm also scouting for those few folks there who think they like "hot stuff" so I can introduce them to a whole different world of heat :lol:
 
I know you'll make it a showplace, and that alone will inspire, along with some sharing of the goodies. Once that's done I feel you'll have the latitude you really want.
 
And finding new chiliheads is always fun. Last season we had sampling days at work, although one guy didn't like my term "lightweight" ;)  But he got over it and jumped in with both feet the second time around. I live in a community where about 50% of the population is of Mexican decent, a very proud people and always quick to say they like the hot stuff. The supers made their head spin!
 
Devv said:
I know you'll make it a showplace, and that alone will inspire, along with some sharing of the goodies. Once that's done I feel you'll have the latitude you really want.
 
And finding new chiliheads is always fun. Last season we had sampling days at work, although one guy didn't like my term "lightweight" ;)  But he got over it and jumped in with both feet the second time around. I live in a community where about 50% of the population is of Mexican decent, a very proud people and always quick to say they like the hot stuff. The supers made their head spin!
 
It'll be a new challenge to develop.  One problem is that we do not move until mid-June, which means right in the middle of the garden season, so I have to get plants in the ground at the new place before I am there.  I'm worried about deer eating the plants - but I don't know if they eat peppers.  You're right though that the latitude will come.  It's just a process of getting to know each other.
 
 
Alright, I have an update!
 
This evening I worked on finishing some maple syrup.  We've been collecting the sap now for a few weeks, and cooking it down in a roaster pan in the garage.  It was cooked down enough that I brought it inside to finish it on the stove.
 
The first thing I did was to strain it before cooking it.  I also strained it afterwards.  Cheese cloth over a colander works pretty decent.
 
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Cook the syrup down. I go by taste and thickness. I ended up leaving it a bit runnier than I did last year. It'll pour easier and the taste was still amazing.

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Of course I needed to make a batch that was heated up. So I took some Yellow CARDI scorpions that I grew from Romy6's seed last year and I sliced them down the middle enough so that the syrup would sink in.

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I cooked two peppers in the syrup for about 15 minutes in order to infuse the syrup. When I finished, I used a slotted spoon on the bottom and another spoon on the top to squeeze the syrup out of the peppers and into the pan.

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After this, I strained it again. I got three quarts of regular syrup and 1 quart plus some sample sized bottles of the hot syrup. It tastes wonderful!

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My plants are growing well in my little growspace downstairs. Here are a few of them:

The red rocoto

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Here is a Giant Mexican Rocoto

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The Bishop's Crowns have bolted in height. I love the taste of these peppers!

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Here is one of my MoA Scotch Bonnets. I'm excited about these this year:

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Finally, an HP22B (Carolina Reaper).

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The season is coming along pretty decent, all things considered. I've got almost 200 plants in my growspace in the basement. It's going to get crowded down there, but for now it's all doing well.

I just hope the spring is warmer than last year's was!

That's all I've got - thanks for stopping by!
 
Plants look great Andy . Wow 200 plants . That is a bunch . 
 
Sending prayers your way that the move goes smooth and they allow you to plant in ground. I have found that fresh soil that has not ever been grown on can  sometimes perform well enough the first season. Hopefully that will be the case for you . 
 
How many miles away is your move ? 
 
Best of luck . We will be watching . 
 
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