Flower Flashbacks and Starting Pepper Seeds!

Hello reader,
This weekend we have a couple garden projects. The first one we’re doing is starting our pepper and forget me not seeds. Forget-Me-Nots hold a special place in our hearts because this was our “thank you” gift to guests at our wedding. We put together little personalized seed packets of Forget-Me-Not flowers, that way our love could continue to grow (our theme). So now, of course, we need to include these beautiful blue flowers in our flower bed. Last year we grew annuals because we would likely be moving, but this year we’ll be growing perennials.

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Our Forget-Me-Not flowers in 2016 before the move

I can’t wait to build up the flower bed this year! They are wonderful for attracting pollinators to your area. Plus, they’re beautiful to look at when you decide to relax outside!

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Our Dahlia in 2016. The bulbs went on sale for 75% off late in the season, and it STILL bloomed! Looks like a watercolor painting to me.

Ahhh. Okay, so now that I’ve had my flashback to last year’s flowers, let’s talk peppers. Traditionally I’ve not had good luck germinating peppers. This year I researched and talked with a friend to find out what would work better. As a result, we’re using the paper towel method and heat. Peppers like it hot! You can find heat mats for sale at stores or online, but I didn’t want to spend the extra money! You can put the pepper seeds in a warm area. However, I’m just using a heating pad that you find at drugstores. My mom used to have me lay on heating pads when I had an ear infection, so using them to encourage seed germination wasn’t my first thought. But we already had a heating pad around, so why not try it out? However, I do not recommend or advise leaving a heating pad plugged in and left on while unattended. Other options for a heat sorce in your home could work as substitute. I use the top of the washer or dryer for my seeds to sit when needed because it is typically warmer for some reason in that area, even if the appliances are not running. My friend uses the top of her refrigerator.

imageThe wait begins!

We’re aiming to grow four different types of peppers using the paper towel method. Three of our pepper varieties are from Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, MO, and we can’t wait to see how they work out! Our goal is to have 7 Jalapeño, 5 Bell pepper, 5 Banana pepper and 3 Cayenne. Hot peppers will be in one 3×6 raised bed, the sweet peppers will be in another.

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Varieties we are growing include Ozark Giant, Banana, Cayenne Long Thin, and Jalapeño Mild.

We want enough peppers to hopefully be able to make chopped jalapeño (for future recipes) fajita veggie packs, jalapeño jelly, crushed cayenne, and picante sauce. I have wonderful memories from childhood when my mom would have the summer bounty rinsed and ready to process. As a child, it seemed as though she spent all day in the kitchen when it was time to make picante sauce. Any time she emerged from the kitchen, she had a mask and gloves on. The aromas would fill the air, and by the end of the sealing process our linen closet would be transformed into a salsa storage unit. As fall approached and the summer days turned into school days, the salsa jars became part of my after school snack. There was no comparison to the store bought version. The honey overlapping the hot peppers created a complex flavor, with the heat sneaking up on you. This summer I hope to learn from my mom how to re-create this memorable picante sauce from my childhood.

Another garden project we are working on is getting our “cool weather crop” garden bed up and running (not literally of course, but is that a fun image)! We’ll be sowing some spinach, lettuce, purple carrots, and possibly our chives. The lettuce and carrots were also from Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds. In fact, the carrots came free with my order! How cool is that? The spinach is Ferry Morse brand.

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Varieties we are starting in the 3×6 raised bed this weekend are Buttercrunch, Matador, and Cosmic Purple.

So far my Ferry Morse seeds have been germinating extremely well! The parsley and chives were both Ferry Morse, and have been growing steadily.

Next weekend, I’ll post in more detail about how we built our own raised beds for an average cost of $10 a bed (not including cost of soil). Until then, look into what planting timeline is best for your growing zone. Have fun picking out peppers and cool weather crops that fit your fancy! Each garden is unique. Craft your garden!

 

Quick link to Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds:

http://www.rareseeds.com

Ferry Morse seeds can be found in stores.

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