Strawberries from the Garden

Strawberries from the Garden

Jan 22, 2017

Digging in the Dirt Again!

The garden books are out and I have started a new journal for the garden. It's been too long! The stresses of my day job and a knee injury turned my world upside down for a little bit which meant gardening just wasn't an option. While I know it was the best choice, I have really missed digging in the dirt. There is just something about it that brings a sense of calm to my life.

I've set up the plant rack with lights and trays. I've ordered seeds and written them all in my garden notes. I looked at my garden layout and made a few small changes. I think I need to add a couple of small beds. It's going to be a really busy spring due to needing to replace some of the raised beds. They've lasted about 8-9 years, but there are some rotting beds that need to be rebuilt.

The next step will be to plan out my indoor starting of my seeds in trays. Although I'll only be able to use a few fingers at this point, at least I'll finally be digging in the dirt again! 

Mar 12, 2015

Spring Thaw

Yesterday, I took Luna, our Border Collie, outside to take a look at the garden. The snow and ice are finally starting to melt. Luna and I both spent our time just poking around and looking. It was too muddy for her to play and too muddy for me to do anything in the garden. We just sat and soaked up the sun. No complaints here! Luna and I both are ready to dig in the dirt but it seems we'll have to wait for a few more days! 

Mar 6, 2015

Fish Pepper; A Pepper With a History

The Fish pepper is one that has a history that intrigues me. It is a pepper with a strong African-American history. This is a pepper that is not found in every garden, but efforts are being made to keep it alive! William Woys Weaver writes of Horace Pippin giving the seeds to his father, who in turn gave them to the Seed Savers Exchange.

Horace Pippin was an African-American artist who was well known for his paintings of the African-American experience. He was from the Westchester, PA area, but was part of a larger community, or network, that included people from the Baltimore area. African-American slaves and freedmen in Antebellum Maryland used the pepper as a 'secret ingredient'. At one point, it was believed the Fish pepper was almost extinct due to the decline of the fishing industry in the Chesapeake Bay. Since that time, the seeds have been distributed and shared over the years and they have spread to gardens all over the world.

The Fish pepper is very different than most peppers. It has a variegated-leaf and is quite stunning in the garden. The plants usually are about 2 feet high, but I have had them reach about 3 feet. They are striking! Their leaves are almost like someone splattered a cream-colored paint on them and the peppers themselves actually start out a light, cream color. This color is why they were so well suited to the cream-based sauces for seafood. As the peppers mature, they get a nice variegation of green and cream and then ultimately, they will turn bright red. I have found that you can use them at any of the three stages and you will have variations in terms of heat!

The Fish pepper actually originated in Baltimore where they were used to make white paprika for the cream sauces used with fish and seafood. Raw, the peppers are quite hot, but they do seem to mellow with cooking.  I let the red peppers dry and then I crush them for the 'red pepper' I use in my recipes.

So, needless to say, when I saw my Fish peppers were starting to sprout, I was absolutely excited! I try to due my part to help keep this wonderful plant remain a part of the garden scene. If you are interested in trying to grow them as well, I think they would actually do quite well in a container if you do not have the garden space. I will share seeds that I have, and if I don't have enough now, I will by the end of the growing season and you can have them for next year. If you want to try them right away, I would go online to John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds. You will not be disappointed!