Pepper, Uncovered

Seedy OIL  copy.jpgPeppers are highly satisfying to grow. They come off the plant, big, bulky and beautiful. Their insides are fascinating, a true primer on plant fruiting. Their seeds are substantial. We’ve grown them for many years in a very small way, just a few plants. Varying them almost yearly to ensure we get some odd varieties. But always, always letting them turn red. Your green pepper is your unripe pepper. So ours are red, yellow, purple, or streaked. Hot, moderate or cool. And the payoff comes with freezing them and then enjoying them in the winter, in stir fries and soups and chilis.

When we lived in Pennsylvania in the seventies, they called them ‘mangoes’. Took us awhile to catch on. Mangoes. Nothing like the real tropical mangoes. Crazy. Easier to grow in Pennsylvania than in Wisconsin. And much easier than when we lived on Manitoulin Island, in Canada. I had to grow them inside a box of old storm windows to keep them warm enough. Still slow, tenuous going. A struggle.

One night some buddies decided to play a little practical joke on me. Bought some big peppers and came around at night, planning to wire them to my hapless pepper plants. Figured I’d come out the next morning and be amazed to see my skills paying off. But they made some noise. And I had been bothered with coons recently. So I came out onto the deck with my 20 gauge shotgun and peered down toward the area of my pepper and tomato plants.It was dark down there, but they sure could see my silhouette in the house lights. . And they started to panic, rolling away on the ground in several directions. For all the world like scurrying raccoons.  Which made more noise. But I still couldn’t see anything. So I didn’t shoot. Lucky for them. I’ll do anything to protect my peppers.

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