Friday, July 2, 2010

Eating Out A Peck Of Penis Peppers

As we’re swaying into July, I’ve been catching up on my well procrastinated gardening. And what do I find? But this wee pornographic pepper showing it’s veiny erectness to the unimpressed world. I’ve had some worries that I wouldn’t get any fruit on the Peter Pepper plants this year due to late repotting and blossoms dying off. But it looks like we’ll get at least one naughty pepper of hilarity for our labors. And from what I can tell, pepper plants can be overwintered and produce year after year.

So let’s see how the rest of the garden is doing. I’ve been eyeing my first Cherokee purple tomato that has been coloring up nicely. I got these not only because of the name giving the nod to a small portion of my genetics, but also because it’s a common opinion that they have one of the nicest tomato flavors around. So, I figure a couple of these added to my spaghetti recipe will take good all the way to great.

Speaking of my spaghetti, after our trip to Sam’s Deli, I discovered the wonder that is San Marzano tomatoes. And much to my delight, at the beginning of the planting season, I found out that their seeds were pretty easy to find and quite inexpensive. So, I set up some of these bad boys to germinate and discovered that my sowing skills suck ass. Not only were they completely on top of each other, but due to a lack of funding for the tons of soil and containers I didn’t plan well for, they pretty much stayed that way until they were setting fruit. So it was barely last night I sat out at 3am (better to replant when it’s cool) and attempted to extract and separate them to be repotted as best I could without absolutely shredding their roots.

We’ve got some fruit on ‘em and they look healthy enough, just very tiny. They’re something akin to super giant grape tomatoes. But hopefully with another good 6 inches of soil to send out some roots to, they’ll be able to rebound and get some decent production by August. Or at the very least, survive my ham handed treatment of the poor tender young things in a dark yard abutting an alley.

Besides the porno peppers, I actually opted for a couple, more standard varieties. We picked up a standard Italian pepper that is throwing out some impressive sized pods considering how short the plant is. There’s the rather fruitful Fresno chili plant, whose peppers are turning an interesting red-orange. The first couple green ones I tried from it weren’t spicy at all, so I’m hoping these mature pods will pack some more heat. Especially since I’ve had it rubbing shoulders with my Habanero plant! I’m told if milder peppers are planted near much hotter ones, they’ll take on characteristics of the other’s heat profile. No blossoms have stuck yet on this heat monster just yet. I’m hoping and praying I can get a handful to make an attempt at homemade salsa.

From there we’ve got our Okra seedlings growing up big and strong for a late summer crop. Our 2 year old strawberry plant valiantly clutching to the walls of it’s broken bottomed pot. Our hopeful lavender transplants, the saddest old catnip plant (local hooligan kittens got into it) and a handful of attempts at growing some purty flowers up from seed.

But most importantly to a city cook, the herb garden. It was herbs that got me back into shoving dirt and green things into pots and arrogantly demanding that they provide me with their bodies and their children that I might better enjoy my seared animal flesh. I think I started again with a basil plant I picked up at Trader Joe’s. It’s since died and been replaced, but the chives I got that year have expanded so much that they’ve taken over two large pots and kick out more onion grass than any 5 people could use. Plus I started a bunch of others from seed. Like oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage and some other crap that I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t remember and don’t really recognize. But I figure once it grows up, I’ll give it a taste and we’ll see then.

If you’re out there with some chicken poo under your nails and the odor of macerated fish guts rising from your watering can, I salute you! It’s such a relaxing and enjoyable past time. And there’s nothing quite so self gratifying than eating something that you grew from seed to plate. Well…I can think of one or two more acts of self gratification that might trump that. But it’s damn close. Here’s hoping your fruits are fat and your pests are few!