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Journal 8-30-16

Truly, Hound is a noble beast.

Kevin’s friend Ana is a Thai chef, and she grows her own peppers in pots for the sauce she makes. When she found out that Kevin’s new wife was a gardener, she brought me one dried pepper. I split it open and started the seeds, since you’re supposed to start peppers and tomatoes indoors and planted them out, and they did terribly and I was convinced I’d killed them all.

I don’t mind killing plants for the most part–gardeners slaughter plants right and left, it’s part of the process–but these were special. She’d brought them from Thailand decades ago, and you can’t exactly go out to the nursery and buy a beloved variety given as a gift to an old friend’s wife. So I was sad. I also hadn’t started any other peppers this year, because I didn’t want them to cross-pollinate.

And then Kevin looked in exactly the right spot and there it was. One of the ones I’d planted out and which had turned to a tiny, dying nubbin, and I had given up. But I hadn’t planted anything else in that planter, in case the planter was the problem, and apparently it pulled through and has been quietly growing all this time.

Kevin ate one and turned colors and assured me that yes, it was one of the Thai peppers. If I dry all these, I might get enough seeds to grow them with slightly less panic next year.

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Going to have to try peppers again next year. I had a half dozen of them, and those that weren't eaten by the slugs turned yellow and shrivelled up before they got beyond the dozen or so leaves stage. I think we're maybe a bit far north though for them... [up round York, in England.]

Personally, I'm always mildly surprised when I plant something and it grows, because usually they don't. Although, the garden is full of plants that mysteriously arrived somehow...and not all weeds. Lots of Mysterium Dandyfinio too...

Peppers like warm soil and don't like wet feet. I've had amazing success with cayennes in Earth Boxes (better drainage) but you can find DIY instructions on the intarwebz for similar planters. York is far enough north* that you might want to start your peppers inside super-early to give them a head start, if you can.

*Minneapolis is at the same latitude as Nice.

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