Planting time

Hey, hey folks; it’s planting time again, so get up and get at it. I jumped the gun a little this year; I was chopping up a bunch of peppers that I had bought over at whatever that market is called north of Waterloo. They were purchased in quantity, so the price was right, but some of them were getting a little on the ripe side so I was anxious to cut them up into half-inch size and get them into Ziploc bags and into the freezer.

I like peppers as a steamed vegetable, and I am fond of them, too, in soups. As well, the ecstatic bonus of the extra colour that they add to salads and whatever, wherever, is not detrimental. But on this particular day, I was faced with a humongous pile of seeds. I have tried feeding them to my chickens and my other birds, but they rejected them with a look of total disgust. But I was brought up in a time when waste not, want not was a part of everyday living.

So I tried something different. I sprinkled them liberally into a starting tray, and I covered them with soil, setting them gently on the windowsill on the sunny side of my kitchen. Ten days later, nothing. Fourteen days later, nothing. So I just threw some more water on them and took off up to my son’s for two or three days, expecting nothing when I came back. But, boy, was I wrong. When I got back, I had five, six, or maybe seven hundred little pepper plants all stretching for the sun. Too many, too thick, and having no greenhouse or cold frame, no place to replant them and grow them on.

So now I have planted several of each kind in separate pots, and I am carting them out each day and hauling them in each night. This is called hardening them off, as peppers are subject to frost and excessive sudden changes in wind, sun, and temperature. And then again, this promises nothing, as the seed I planted could well be from a hybrid cross that have viable seed that produce healthy-looking plants that reproduce very little or nothing. But patience is a virtue; time will bring forth a verdict.

In the meantime, folks, in addition to sorting and packing, getting ready for my late August move north, to the hinterlands of Markdale, we have been making a couple hundred bluebird and tree swallow house kits as this is the season that they are in demand, and we have a Greenspaces for Wellington workshop coming up the Saturday before Father’s Day at Little Tree Horticulture, on Highway 6, just north of Fergus. We will have tree swallow and bluebird houses as well as bat houses available.

The tree swallows swoop and dive, eating the flying insects during the day. The bluebirds munch for lunch the creepy-crawlies on or near the ground, and the bats zigzag the night skies gobbling up mosquitoes literally by the thousands. What a neat environmentally friendly trio to have in the natural balance around your yard.

The cost recovery on the birdhouses is just $10 each and the bat houses are only $20. No pesticides necessary when you encourage the help of Mother Nature. This is a rain or shine event, folks, so don’t miss it. I may even take along two or three of my four books for those who still do not have signed copies.

Take care, ’cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins