One of my favorite aspects about gardening is sharing…sharing tips, tricks, harvest and of course, seeds–the magic beginning to that next great crop. As a self-sustaining gardener, saving seeds is the name of the game. No more trips to the seed store, we grow our own, harvest our own and start the process anew—all on our own. Wonderful, isn’t it?
But from time to time you come across a fellow gardener doing something awesome and you find you find yourself filled with green. Not the jealous kind or green, or the envious kind. (Well, a little, maybe. I mean, after all, one gander at their growth and you want it for your own!) I’m mostly talking the curious green-thumb kind of green.
“Hey, what’s that you’re growing? How did you do it?”
These are common questions from gardener to gardener, as is the case with my fellow gardener, Phil. Phil is a childhood friend of my husband and grows some AMAZING hot peppers. Not only does he grow them, but he makes hot pepper jellies, spreads, salsa… His peppers are medium, hot, extra hot and zap-your-senses-silly hot. (You can see why I’m ready to jump in.) As a fan of Hungarian hot wax peppers, my family wants some of what Phil has. As a fellow gardener, he completely understood.
And sent us a batch of peppers. We dried and crushed the peppers, used them for pizza, chili, etc. and then saved the seeds for spring. Granted, spring isn’t here yet, but I’m getting a head start. I’m pre-sprouting Phil’s pepper seeds on the patio for transplant to the garden—once I’m certain the coast is clear: no more threats from Mr. Frost.
Devil’s tongue is the name for these gems (see them there, on top of my compost dirt?) and they’re going to provide some real zest to our summer salsa. Who knows? We might even can them with a little oil and spice like we do our Hungarian Wax Peppers. Can’t wait.
I’ve covered the seeds with a fine layer of top soil and set them out on the back patio. Don’t use too much dirt to cover–these seeds like to be planted about 1/4″ deep. For my Arctic Amigos—those of you who live where it gets brrrrrr-cold—you can sow these seeds indoors 8 weeks prior to your last frost. Add moisture, warmth and sun, and you’ll have these babies sprouting in no time!
When you’re ready to plant them in ground, space them about 12″ apart. Good companions for peppers include carrots, onion, parsnip and pea. Keep away from fennel and kohlrabi. Happy planting!
**Once we harvest, I’ll share some delightful hot pepper concoctions I come up with (hopefully with the help of my pal, Phil!).