And how have you been this week, lovely reader?
Me, I’m good. Not a lot going on here. Just, you know, NATURE and its complete awesomeness!
I can’t help myself; I must jump straight to the most exciting bit of the week for me: the tomatillos. The one I wrote about last week, the first of our crop, has gotten big enough to photograph.
Eep! The other ‘tillos that started last week aren’t far behind. Right now we have about six really obvious fellas like the one pictured below, and at least a dozen smaller ones that I suspect are husks in progress.
It’s really cool that they grow inside the husks, actually. Unless we can find juuuuuust the right angle to be able to peek inside that husk, we really can’t gauge the fruit’s growth. Squeezing the husk to feel the contents doesn’t really work. Right now the little marbles are so small that squeezing just makes me paranoid that I’ll accidentally pinch the whole thing off. So anything could be going on in there! It’s a little like Christmas, with all the delicious anticipation.
We have officially been overrun with peppers. We have at least twenty Jalapenos between the three plants, a dozen or so Fresnos, at least as many Hungarian sweets, with new blossoms on all of them.
I just can’t use or give away the fruit fast enough, which has left me with something of a dilemma. What do I do with all of these peppers that are beginning to turn red? I would have preferred to pick them early and frequently, in order to encourage an increase in pepper size, but once I pick them, there is a limited amount of time in which I can use them. If I leave them on the plant, though, then I’m encouraging a smaller harvest. Being overrun, that may sound like a positive, but I’d like to eventually have large, store quality peppers, as opposed to the dinky things we’ve mostly gotten from our young plants.
I explored a couple of options for preserving the peppers. Pickling and canning seemed the obvious choice, but I’ll admit that all of my canning supplies are more or less tucked away at the moment, and I haven’t had time to consider untucking them. Drying sounded like a fabulous option, especially as the pure pepper flavor would be preserved that way (as opposed to adding vinegar and spices). The only problem there is that I don’t have a dehydrator, and apparently without one it can take days in the oven for them to dry out. Not only that, I would need to keep the apartment well-ventilated (which it’s really not) due to the pepper oil that the oven would put into the air. Essentially, without proper airflow, I’d be pepper spraying myself. Trust me, that’s not a pleasant prospect; Bro has done this to me several times while cooking with sriracha.
Holy heck, that’s it, isn’t it. Sriracha! I’ll use them to make sriracha! What a fantastic way to use a lot of peppers. Bro loooooves the stuff, too. He’d eat it on everything if he could! Thanks, bloggees, for bearing with me as I worked that one through. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.
One thing that hasn’t been thriving is our mustard plants, due to our age-old nemeses, the evil caterpillar. Boo! I’ve done a bit of research, and it seems the beast we’re currently plagued with is called a “Cabbage White” butterfly.
So not a moth, as I’d previously thought. They’re a proper butterfly, which makes me a little bit sad. Their babies are SO destructive that as pretty as they are, we just can’t have them around our plants. I’ve taken to keeping a spray bottle near the patio door so that any time I see a pair of white wings fluttering madly over the garden, I can shoot it with a stream of water and chase them away. I can’t be on watch 24/7, though, and clearly a Cabbage White or two have slipped in because when I looked out the window the other day, I saw that one of our mustard plants was completely covered in these bad boys:
I hurriedly grabbed the pair of chopsticks we’d velcroed to the outside wall for just these occasions, and began plucking the bright green larvae from the leaves, internally squealing, “Ew! Ew! Ew!”, before flinging them over the fence. I probably ought to have drowned them like I’ve done in the past, as leaving them to starve or get eaten by birds isn’t overly compassionate of me. I was just in such a hurry to get them away from my darlings, though, that I wasn’t thinking of much else. Looking at the poor mustard plant, they nibbled it down to nubs. I don’t know if it’ll be able to recover. We’ll just have to see, I suppose.
That’s pretty much it for the week. To carry you through to next week, I offer the following photos of some of the other plants, taken over the last seven days.
Have a good one, folks! Byeeeeeee!