Harvest Monday: Putrefaction – 08/05/2013

August 5, 2013  |  6 Comments  |  by Ben Czajkowski  |  Gardening
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This was an interesting week for my peppers. And not interesting in a good way.

harvest monday pepper blend

To start things off, I started chopping up what I thought were very small Red Beauty bell peppers. I’d remarked on them in previous Harvest Mondays, thinking that two of my three Red Beauty plants had just put up a crop of tiny, crowded bell peppers.

Unintentional hot peppers

Unintentional hot peppers

Turns out these were hot little bastards a la Cherry Bomb peppers.

That blew my mind. These Red Beauty bell pepper seeds were from a seed packet that I’d had around for a number of years. I thought, maybe, because these peppers were next to my Tabasco container, the pollen from those hot peppers crossed into the sweet bell peppers and created a hybrid. ABSOLUTELY WRONG.

Peppers cannot become hot hybrids like this until the next generation, if this was the case. If these were sweet bell peppers, I saved the seeds, and planted them next year, then there would be a chance that these peppers would be a hot child. The likelihood is that whatever seeds that I had from the packet were most likely cross-pollinated. Or I’ve somehow mixed up seeds over the years, still managing to get one Red Beauty bell pepper plant.

Regardless, I am disappointed. While I appreciate hot peppers, I really just wanted a solid crop of sweet Red Beauty bell peppers. Instead, there was about a couple dozen or so hot peppers that I hadn’t prepared for! I chopped some up, melted them in with Brie cheese, and made turkey-wrap presses with them. Made a great, fiery lunch!

My wife chopped all my peppers, over the weekend, and we’re going to make sweet and hot bell pepper spread and probably give it to people as Christmas presents. While she worked in Boston, she learned about a sandwich condiment called “Hots”, which is a hot pepper relish spread. She swears by it, as do many others on the Internet. So, we’re going to give it a shot.

Yellow and Orange mini bell peppers

Yellow and Orange mini bell peppers

The mini bell peppers put out a massive crop, all ripening at once. Usually, I’m not that lucky. Almost a pound of peppers that will be added to the hot relish.

Fish peppers and chinese five colored peppers

Fish peppers and chinese five colored peppers

Striped Fish Pepper

I love the stripes on these Fish peppers

Same with the Fish and Chinese Five-colored peppers.

Birds pecked this Red Beauty bell pepper

Birds pecked this Red Beauty bell pepper. Liam found the stem fascinating.

Even the hot peppers weren't safe from the birds

Even the hot peppers weren’t safe from the birds

I was forced to harvest two of my Red Beauty bell peppers that were actually bell peppers. One had begun to rot, and it wasn’t quite ready to come off yet, but I cut it anyway. The other, was attacked by these smart-as-shit birds that plague my area of North Carolina. Added to the relish.

Boston Pickling Cucumbers

Boston Pickling Cucumbers

The Boston Pickling cucumbers produced several nice fruits this week. Along with the two from last week, I’m going to make another jar of pickles to go with the four aging in my cabinet. I actually might make refrigerator pickles from them, the more I think about it. I don’t really know if I want to boil just ONE jar…

Pepper's insides turned completely to water

Pepper’s insides turned completely to water

The devastating blow came this week when I went to check on my Aconcagua pepper plant. I had two long, soon-to-ripen peppers. I noticed that one was yellowed, sagging, and wrinkled. I picked it off and it immediately dropped from the stem, splattering onto the ground in a wet, sicking mess. It smelled absolutely awful. Somehow, the pepper putrefied or liquefied, right on the plant! I tried Googling for similar experiences, but nothing came up quickly. This pepper plant is cursed! Luckily, there is still one healthy looking fruit and another following closely behind.

I also scrapped the three mini bell pepper plants that were in the deep water culture hydroponics bucket, in my kitchen. The three have been fighting an aphid infestation for just too long, and I don’t feel like continuing to prop them up. I learned some mighty valuable lessons from my patient zeroes. Now, it’s time to move on to another plant (like a real bell pepper!)

I’ll end on a good note: since I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night because of some wicked acid reflux, I began to research overwintering these pepper plants properly. I’m probably going to build a mini-hot house for the containers. I’d love to keep some of them into next season for an even bigger crop, especially early! With how cold it was to start the summer, I’ll probably only get one more solid harvest out of these plants.

This week: new pepper plants and feeding!

Weekly Weights:
Red Beauty Bell Peppers: 10 oz.
Chinese and Fish Peppers: 2 3/4 oz.
Mini yellow and orange Bell Peppers: 15 1/2 oz.
Red Beauty Cherry Bombs: 11 1/8 oz.
Boston Pickling Cucumbers: 1 lb. 3 1/8 oz.

I’m linking to Daphne’s Harvest Monday.

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6 Responses to “Harvest Monday: Putrefaction – 08/05/2013”

Jenny says:

Your peppers look amazing!

Thank you very much. Wish the birds would leave them alone, though :-)

Patsy says:

The peppers look wonderful! Too bad about the hot ones, but it sounds like you’ve hit on a solution to use them. I’ve never seen one that “putrified” like that yellow one you had. Mine were wonderful last year, but pretty sad this year.

Daphne says:

Lovely peppers. Well the ones not pecked by birds or rotting. I hate when I get mislabeled seed, though my problem is often mislabeled plants when I grow starts.

Barbie says:

Lovely peppers…well – mostly. LOL. I love surprises in the garden but not the bad type and not at the expense of not getting what I want. *shrug*

Sorry about your disappointment in the Cherry Bomb Peppers. For what it’s worth, I love growing this variety. They make excellent pickled peppers!!! =0)