Got Ghost peppers

Hard to believe but I’m starting my seedlings for the winter crop already. Got started with cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels. This season I’m going to try to remain disciplined as far as planting fewer seeds at any one time but more continuously over the season. It’s kind of a guessing game in terms of when space will become available since much of that is determined more by weather than clock. An extra warm, extra long fall makes for less space for early planting of winter crops so I end up with seedlings but no place to plant them; a cold, short fall generates lots of space by killing off the later summer crops but the space goes unused if there are no seedlings available to plant. The saving grace is that seeds are cheap so I just plant and start things assuming ma nature is going to cooperate and take my lumps as she dishes out a dose of reality.

It’s also a fact that I have more plantable space this year than last. I haven’t increased the size of the garden perimeter but have increased the width of the individual planting rows. When I first recognized that my problems were soil related a few years back, I organized the garden in rows where the width of the plantable area and the width of the walking rows was determined by the amount of good soil I had. I was limited by the amount of compost I was making which, prodigious by any standards, was still only a finite amount. My focus was on soil depth, making the planting rows higher, so there was good soil and good drainage deep down. Once I was satisfied with soil quality in any given row, I start widening the planting area and shrinking the walking space between rows. As an example, last winter my planting rows probably averaged 30” wide whereas the space between rows was more like 40”. The season before that the planting rows were more like 2‘ wide. By using the compost to widen rows throughout last spring and this summer, those widths are about reversed and in some areas, the space between the growing rows is down to 2′. Doesn’t sound like much but it’s the difference between planting a row of cabbage 2 plants across vs 3 plants – 50% more plants per row. Some of the rows were wide enough for 1 plant whereas now all will handle at least 2. It’s hell being an engineer and breaking everything down into a design calculation.

Finally some Ghost peppers. I started the seeds in March and put the plants in April 24. With most pepper varieties I’m familiar with, we should have been picking by the end of June or early July. These will probably be mature in September. I don’t plan to test them for heat or flavor but rather ship them off to the hot pepper fanatics in the family. Anybody that wants a sample, let me know.

So the first of my test sequence is a CAT scan. By itself that seems fairly passive but to spice it up, they give you a bottle of guacum to drink the night before and another for an hour before the scan. The bottle is labeled “berry smoothie” and the label actually sports a picture of a cornucopia spilling over with mixed berries; very attractive. If it was really a berry smoothie don’t you think they’d have just given me a chit for a smoothie at McDonalds? Each bottle is 450ML, whatever the hell an ML is in regular people measurements. It looks way too much to chug. Be nice if they offered it in both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version. The only directions on the bottle are to shake well. Nothing about mixing with gin or vodka or a recommended chaser. It doesn’t say not to though. I’d look it up on the internet but I’m afraid I’d read all kinds of nasty potential side affects like those commercials for drugs on TV.

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