Wide World o ZuTroy

Peppers

We got a little excited about growing our own peppers this year.  I picked out some really nice looking Anaheim and Serrano peppers that I figured would make some good salsa.  We planned two 20 ft rows of peppers. That should be enough right? But we didn’t plant any bell peppers.  I don’t know why, that’s what we buy the most of at the grocery store.  Usually we get that pack of red, orange, and yellow peppers from Costco and it lasts us a week.  I guess we like peppers.

Cari really likes them. She has taken to just munching on fresh bell peppers as a snack.  She especially likes the sweet red ones. When she found out that we hadn’t planted any in the garden she was really sad.  But she was determined she would solve this problem by herself.  She took the one last red pepper from the fridge, cut it open, took all the seeds, and put them in a paper bag to dry out.  I think she got about 100-200 seeds from that single pepper.

Our garden peppers were already sprouting and some even had good leaves growing. It was late June when Cari told us that she wanted to plant her peppers in the garden with the others.  We didn’t want to break her heart by telling her that it was too late. The other peppers had a good 4 or 5 weeks head start and she probably wouldn’t get any peppers before the first frost, if they even sprouted at all.  So we humored her and tried to prepare her for the fact that her peppers just weren’t going to grow.

Because we figured hardly any would sprout and partly because we were tired of digging holes to plant things we planted about 20 seeds in each hole. Nothing happened.  For weeks she would run to the pepper rows and check for her sprouts.  Each time she would come away with the same heart-broken look of disappointment. Then something crazy happened.  They came up. All of them.  In a matter of days we had many many dozens of pepper sprouts crowding each other.  So we thinned them out. Another week later we thinned them again. I think we thinned them out a total of 4 times.

Now we have as many bell pepper plants as we have other peppers.  We have been harvesting our other peppers for about 3 weeks but hadn’t seen any flowers or tiny peppers yet on the bell peppers. Until last week.

Cari and I were at the farm harvesting a couple baskets of tomatoes and Cari was asking me “How come Mommy was so excited over her first tomato? We have TONS!” I tried to explain the excitement ones feels when they first start to see the fruits of their labors.  She didn’t get it.  Then we walked past the peppers and there it was.  The first pepper.  Cari was so excited she started screaming and jumping up and down.  And she finally got it.  She understood why Mommy was so excited over the first tomato.

And I am amazed.  Seeds from one pepper we bought at Costco.  Now it looks like we’ll have bell peppers to last us the whole fall and first few weeks of winter. Not to mention all the salsa and spaghetti sauce we’re canning.  I think we’ll even have plenty to dry in those cool bunches and just hang up for fun.

Moral of the story:  You can count the seeds in a pepper (if you’re patient) but you can’t count the peppers in a seed. Never underestimate the hopes and desires of your children.