From Pipi’s Pasture: The bell peppers
Each spring when the stores start putting out bedding plants, I can’t help myself. I realize that it’s too early to buy the started vegetable and flower plants in May because the weather is still too unsettled. The soil is too cold, there’s still a huge chance for snow, and the chance of frost is still there—way up into June. But I look at those beautiful plants and think that I might not be able to find any later on—especially cabbage and green bell pepper plants.
So each year I end up buying plants in May, and they end up on the front porch, usually on top of the chest-type deep freeze where they can get a little sunlight (and where they have to be moved each time I need something from the freezer). Anyway, the plants don’t get enough sunlight, and there isn’t much soil around them in the starter containers, and before long they’re looking spindly. Each year I vow not to buy the bedding plants until I’m ready to put them out.
A person might think that I’d remember my vow, but this May I walked past the bedding plants at City Market and spotted the most beautiful green bell pepper plants. I walked past them at first but thought it over and went back and picked up five plants. I thought that at least I’d have this many plants.
I brought the peppers home and propped them up in the geranium plants along the front window where they would have sunlight and faithfully watered them.
There weren’t many flowers available this year but in coming days I purchased some small petunias that weren’t blooming, some pansies with blossoms, and even a container of small cabbages. I pictured planting the petunias in pots out by the porch, and the pansies would be in pots on the porch, as usual. Meanwhile, the pepper plants thrived. There was no room for any other plants in the front window, but they got a little light and perhaps too much water.
Time passed. I waited out the storms and cold weather. I needed to plant everything. I purchased some more pink petunias, these with blossoms. The pansies were spindly and had long ago lost their blossoms. The little cabbages hadn’t grown and were yellowish green, but the peppers had flourished. They were at least a foot tall and the leaves were a bright green with a waxy look. Two of the plants had tiny flowers.
The day arrived for planting. I put all of the petunias in pots. They looked pretty good. The pansies were spindly and fell over but I cut them back and knew they would recover. I put the cabbages in the garden where they promptly died. Last were the peppers. I boldly decided to plant two of them in pots where they could grow on the front porch.
The day passed. I protected the peppers. I covered them he first night. I watered them plenty. The plants survived the wind. The second day I congratulated myself. The pepper plants looked pretty good. That night I was closing the front door when I noticed that one of the plants looked a little odd, as if it were missing some leaves. I checked it out. Two of the big leaves had been nipped off. I looked off the porch. All of the petunia blossoms were missing.
Deer! I hadn’t seen any around since March so I was reckless. I hadn’t sprayed with the deer repellent yet. All that work and worry! There are still three peppers to plant, and with all the wind this June I’m planting them all in pots instead of the garden. Who knows what is next?
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