I have been busy preparing the garden for planting. Won’t be long now. “Last frost” in Staten Island, according to my research, is April 15th. (What is it about April 15th?)
I have already started several plants indoors, from seed –both store-bought and harvested myself from last year: five varieties of tomato, two kinds of beans, arugula, basil, parsley, two kinds of lettuce, and cantaloupe. No doubt I will add extensively to this short list over the next weeks, but those are the ones I’m particularly interested in harvesting early.
I was very involved in exploring the world of peppers in 2007 –a wide spectrum of mild to hot, but strongly weighted towards the hot end– and have saved a lot of those seeds, which I aim to start… tomorrow.
At the end of the 2007 season I brought indoors three potted pepper little pepper bushes –jalapeno and serrano– because I was so appreciative of, grateful for their extraordinary productivity. I had no idea of what to expect of them; I just kept them watered.
But just a few weeks ago I was delighted to see some tiny new-season green leaves start at various points along the branches of the plants. By now they have grown into quite significant additions, and the jalapeno has even started three “pre-season” blossoms.
I also brought indoors two pots of Thai Bush Peppers –those are really hot– and the same process of new-leaf sproutings have started with some of them.
With my own tomatoes, cilantro and choice of peppers, all I needed to buy for my salsas last year –I had one every day for the six growing months– were limes. That would be true Salsa Independance. (Limes in my local supermarket vary in price over the year from a dollar for 16 down to the current 5 for two dollars.(I’m wondering if I could ever grow my own.)
As it happens I get in the mail frequent catalogs from a seed and plant company in Illinois. It seems to advocate an entirely different approach to gardening. How odd –although maybe not, when you think about it– that it promotes such a competitive, impress-the neighbors, be-the-first-with ethic. It incorporates a certain (what seems to me) freak-show element –the huge watermelon, the three different citrus fruits that grow on a dwarf tree, a yard-long bean, corn that tastes like peaches-and-cream, a burpless cucumber, a “colossal’ footlong hot pepper, a giant radish “as big as a baseball”, onions as big as softballs, an “amazing” wonder egg tree. Surprise your friends with this Blue Potato. It goes on and on, this Ripley’s Believe it or not. They seem to have only two sizes in this catalog –if it isn’t ‘Dwarf’ it’s got to be ‘Mammoth’.
But, as it happens, they are offering a Lime Tree –a ‘Dwarf’ Lime Tree, of course. I’m wondering…