The Return Of The Blog

I looked outside today and saw the decaying state of my vegetable garden. I harvested the last of my vegetables last week. I even harvested a Black Russian tomato that was so good it made me get all excited about this coming Spring.
I brought in one pepper plant; the Chiltepin plant. I hope I can overwinter it successfully. I will be pruning it back this week and I plan on moving it to a bigger pot –it’s in a 4 gallon bucket right now. Hopefully this won’t kill it.
This coming Spring I think I will only plant on 5 gallon buckets. I go back and forth on this since the tomato plants that were in the ground did better than the ones in containers, but, as it is evident right now, getting the vegetable garden ready for next year is a lot easier if all I have to do is empty the buckets, wash them, and store them away. Who knows what my final decision will be!
One thing I know for sure; I won’t start my seeds in January like I did this year. I will wait until the end of February before I put any seeds into any dirt.
Come on Spring!!!!


Snow Falling On Onions

Sure, not near as poetic as Snow Falling On Cedars but I don’t grow cedars. At least not yet.

That’s one of my baby onions poking through the snow.

Here’s what my garden looked like this afternoon:

Here are more images of SPRING from my yard:

My poor baby pear tree will drop all of its foliage:

I don’t know if it was the excitement of all the snow or what but my puppy Lexie decided to snack on one of the potato bags. I don’t know how she untied the chicken wire. Smart girl…

And now, let’s look at how my chiltepin plant is doing. She has spent some time outside and has done well, even in a very windy day. She is nice and safe inside until it warms up again.

Last but not least is my potato experiment. I saw on a video that potatoes don’t transplant well. I had a few pieces of my seed potatoes left after I planted the potatoe bags and I did not want to waste them so I put them in peat pots. When I checked on them yesterday this is what I saw:

According to, we have a few more nights of sub-freezing lows. My peppers are all outgrowing their peat pots and they need to be put on their self-watering containers soon.
Here’s to Spring!

The Chiltepin

Year after year I have put chiltepin seeds, also known as chile tepin or chile pequin, in peat pellets, professional growing medium, dirt, etc. with no results; or if you prefer, with the result that at the end, all I had were empty peat pellets, empty pots of professional growing medium, empty pots of dirt, etc.
This year, I tried it once again and pow! one seed sprouted. I cannot tell you how elated I was. I actually did a little jig the morning I came down to inspect my peat pellets and found this little gem. I have nurtured it since and this is what it looks like today, February 21, 2oo9 (see picture above).
The chiltepin pepper and I have history. We go back all the way to my childhood in the Sonoran desert, where peddlers would come to our street selling wild chiltepins that they had harvested in the Sierra Madre mountains.
The little round peppers can be eaten fresh but we always used them dry and are so hot that we used bits of grocery paper sacks to protect our fingers when we crushed them into soups and stews. Just one was enough to provide any dish with considerable kick.
Experts say that the chiltepin is the precursor of ALL peppers. It is a wild plant and so they tell me, it takes a year or two to fruit, but I have read somewhere that people get fruit out of it the first year. A well-tended chiltepin plant can live for a long time -20 or 30 years! although the oldest plant I have seen was reported to be 5 years old.
It is because of the reported longevity of the plant I intend to plant my baby into a large, regular pot and not into one of my home made self-watering containers, which have to be emptied and cleaned at the end of each growing season. Here in Kansas, I will have to bring it inside during the coldest months of the year.

I am hoping that tomorrow is nice enough for me to put plants into the remaining 4 self-watering buckets that I’ve made.

By now, I usually have all the seeds I am going to buy for the growing season but today I bought some seeds for stuff I hadn’t decided yet if I wanted to grow or not, so I will be sowing stuff tomorrow as well.

Thus far…

It’s February 10, 2009 and it has been in the 60’s for the last 4 days. So far this year, I have started the following:

1 Market Miracle Russian tomato plant
2 Brandywine tomato plants
1 Chiltepin plant (my pride and joy thus far since it is the first time I’ve been able to grow one from seed)
Multiple spearmint plants
2 Anaheim pepper plants
1 Mini Bell sweet pepper plant
1 Strawberry plant from seed
1 Giant Kale plant (to grow into a cane)
1 California Wonder bell pepper plant
1 JalapeƱo M

This past weekend I planted the bulk of my seeds but I still have some to do.

This year I am using a heating pad to help start the seedlings with one pleasant surprise; my Tom Tom mini head lettuce and my Tin Tin lettuces sprouted in ONE DAY! I was expecting them to sprout in 10 days but they sprouted overnight so now I have to figure out a way to plant them while it is still cold outside.

I bought a grow light fixture and I spend the day at work wondering if it will catch my house on fire. Actually I bought two grow lights this year, one is a stand made for a plant but I put several small plants under it.

Next I hope to tell you about some of the other stuff I am trying this year in the garden.