Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Urban Garden Has Peppers

For some reason, I haven't been able to successfully grow peppers in the garden in the back here in Quincy. If any fruit did develop, it would always be small and hard and measly. It's always been kind of embarrassing. Men here, gardeners, always talk--they brag--about their "peppas." They'd grow them then "throw them on the grill" with onion for their steak tips. It was typical. I'm not a red meat guy, which always makes me suspect in the male grilling world and I certainly don't do steak tips on the grill. I'd say, save it for your Patriots tailgate party but in my 35 years living in Boston, I've been to exactly two Patriots games. My specialty is a nice, thick salmon steak slathered with mayo/lemon/fresh dill served with new potatoes in the oven, or boneless chicken thighs marinated all day in a Caribbean jerk.

I've never had trouble with peppers before. I always thought they were kind of a no-brainer kind of plant to grow. But then, when we moved to Quincy, the trouble started. Maybe peppers are the teenagers of the vegetable world, their job is to push the envelope and embarrass their parents at every turn, and I never asked to move to Quincy in the first place.

But, like teenagers, you don't give up on them.

So this year, I thought I'd give them one more chance and planted them in the a box on the porch. I found three of these boxes last spring on the curb in the garbage. They're old packing crates, and this will probably be the last season I'll get to use them. They're made of thin pine and the weather is taking its toll on them. This past winter, though, we stapled some heavy plastic over them and turned them into cold frames. With the mild winter that we had, we had fresh herbs well into January.

As you can see, the peppers are doing great. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the intense heat they get on the porch, and the nice rich organic soil I've got them in. Maybe they're loners and introverts and just wanted space to themselves. Or maybe it's the chill environment they have, and they really love the sound of a wind chime.

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