Monday, 10 March 2008

Free Food

This is the first gardening project I tackled this year, about the first week of February. I paired a bunch of the trays that mushrooms come in, stabbed holes in the top tray and put a couple of spacers (corks, bottle lids, slices off of toilet paper rolls) in the bottom tray to permit drainage. Thinking that it might be easier to separate the plants from the start, I used egg cartons filled with peat and planted one seed in each egg compartment. When I ran out of egg cartons before trays or seeds, I used slices of toilet paper rolls and then strips from the egg carton lids, stapled together in a ring. I ran out of trays before I ran out of seeds (saved from store bought red and yellow bell peppers).

So far, 43 of the 63 seeds have sprouted. I've no idea what I will do with them all. I can manage maybe 8-10 on the front porch, the only place warm and sunny enough to support pepper plants properly. I will probably scatter some around the house as they are very handsome even without bearing fruit that ranks as a 'superfood' due to its high vitamin C content. Pepper plants are tough; two survived well into winter in far from ideal conditions in my diningroom last winter. I only got a few miniature peppers from them but, as they were totally abused to give preference to some tomato plants (equally unrewarding), I thought I should give it a better effort and see what happens.

Peppers are great in salads, stir fries, on homemade pizzas and stuffed. When I was growing up, Mom always put green bell peppers in her salads; red, yellow or orange ones were considered too expensive then, but of course now those are my favourites. The last year or two I was at work, pepper strips were a routine part of my lunch (along with carrots and celery); the guys said it was like sharing an office with a rabbit.

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