Thursday, March 19, 2020

I'm a Pepper Prepper

The Great Pepper Grow of 2020 is on. Part 1 of the saga is here, if you want the background.

Last weekend, I began the process of sprouting my peck of pepper seeds so I can eventually plant them in pots on my porch.

OK, it's a balcony. But that's not alliterative.

I could have said veranda, but I said porch.
As an aside, it turns out the best time to shop for outdoor planters may not be just after you discover you're getting a healthy tax refund this year. I had practically an entire commercial nursery in my Amazon cart before common sense prevailed. Instead I've ordered two cute resin planters that will fit snugly on one end of the balcony. I understand that Amazon may end up prioritizing other people's orders for things like medical supplies and food over my pepper pots. But I'm hopeful that they'll arrive before my seeds are ready to plant.

Hope is just about all we have, now that assholes have taken all the toilet paper.

But more on that in another post.

So, per the internet, the best way to sprout pepper seeds is to fold them up in a damp paper towel and seal them up in a plastic bag. All righty then, I thought. I've done baby-sitting, not that much different.

NO! Bad Chuck. Drunkards: Do NOT fold babies or children into damp paper towels and seal them up in a plastic bag. Not even if they sass. People on Nextdoor will talk badly about you. But pepper seeds? Perfectly OK. And that's just what I did.

Seeds, water, Bounty...we good.
My packet of Burpee seeds contained five different pepper varieties. I was hopeful that I'd be able to sort them by type so I could eventually plant my little container garden in neat groups of anchos, jalapenos, etc. Alas, that was not to be.

Shown here: Homogeny, pepper edition.
It's entirely possible that there are pepperologists out there who can spot the subtle differences among various types of pepper seeds. I'm not one. Oh, well. Maybe the sprouts will have distinctive appearances? Who knows?

Anyway, onto the damp paper towel they went, one big happy capsaicin-containing bunch. And then I folded the towel in half:

And in half again:

And slid the whole thing into a zipper bag, which I sealed to hold in the life-giving damp.

Et voila.

That's French for "ignore my man hands."
This evening I took a peek at how my pepper boys are doing. I removed and carefully unfolded the paper towel (which is still as damp as it was five days ago - impressive!). Guys...I have a few tiny sprouts! They're small and verrrry pale, so I didn't attempt to photograph them. But my seeds are definitely beginning to come to life. Honestly, I was afraid that after five days I'd find nothing but a bunch of waterlogged, rotten husks, so I'm thrilled.

I guess I'll check on my proto-peppers in another five days to see how they're making out. In the meantime, I'll prepare my balcony for its new residents. It's been rainy here in Texas, and I hope that will condition the soil I'll be putting out. I also hope that the Spring rains don't turn into the Summer drought the day I plant my peppers.

Peppers, you guys. They're coming.



  1. Fascinating. Peppers are like "higher" organisms in that they're indistinguishable in embryonic form. I'm also glad the prep is so easy. I grew some plants that were native to the Australian Outback and required a small fire to germinate.
    Setting small fires. Also reminiscent of babysitting.

  2. Peppers are a delight to grow because they are pretty much failure-proof, if you don't let them dry out under the sun. Plus, they add flavor to everything. Pepper on!

  3. "Do NOT fold babies or children into damp paper towels and seal them up in a plastic bag."

    But that brings out the flavour and makes them worth eating!


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