Fire, water, air... don't say it.

Non-vegetable post

Fire update: Containment now to 30% and fire crews are getting the upper hand. Acreage burned is 7,000.  Freeways opened and all mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been lifted. A total of three structures have been lost (2 structures were on one property) and four non-life-threatening injuries of firefighters have been sustained (dehydration, exhaustion, etc.)

Some news reports state that this is the 'worst' fire in LA history: but like all newsy-news reports, *terms and conditions may apply. Whether they are basing this on firefighter involvement (1,061 personnel assigned), or just fires in LA county, or just in terms of acreage burned (vs. structures burned and/or lives lost) is not made clear. As it wouldn't be. The point isn't to impart information, it's to get ooh-aws and oh-nos and have you stick around through the commercial break.

Seriously though, although I prefer guaranteed primary sources like the LA Fire Department Alerts page, I do try not to base all my info on a single source unless it is the only source. However, one of the news websites (which I will leave unnamed) was so ad heavy it crashed my browser this morning. I hadn't even had my coffee yet.

I mean, it's not like we're trying to get the facts on a potentially life threatening fire here. So by all means, show me the unprompted, half screen shoe advertisement video pop-up first. Maybe I'll pick up a pair on my way to the evac center. For fucks's sake.
 
But, Day, tell us how you really feel.

Media rants aside, a cool thing happened last night -- it rained!

Can you see it, can you see it! yeah i can't really either. But I swear it's a puddle.
oh, and it's also labor day... in case any of you got up super early to move your car for street sweeping and spent fifteen minutes in the dark before coffee at the butt crack of dawn hunting for left side parking just to realize they're not street sweeping today because it's labor day.

Ya know, in case that was your morning. 

And though we did get rain and it was super awesome, unfortunately it didn't rain on the area that was burning. At least as far as I can gather from friends living near the burn zone. But this makes two rains in five weeks, that's pretty astounding for our summer weather. I'll take it.

Admittedly, it was a little odd to be under fire watch, heat advisory, and a flash flood warning all at the same time. I kept thinking to myself: Fire, air, water... we're missing one.

Whatever you do, don't say it. Cuss all you want, but don't ever state the nature of the 'the big one.' LA is not a superstitious town really, except in this one way. Want to not make friends in LA? Go to a bar and say the ten letter word that starts with e- and rhymes with shmurthshmake. I dare you.

~~~~~~~~~~

More coming later this week, and much more vegetable oriented content. Until then, I look forward to checking out everyone else's hauls for Harvest Monday.

Happy Planting!

Children of Fire

So if you've read my right hand sidebar, you might have seen the little line that goes 'Summers here are hot with a chance of we're literally on fire...'

Yes, I was trying to be funny. But I was also being serious.

Photo © LA Times
Yesterday afternoon, La Tuna Canyon started smoldering. By this morning we have a 5,000 acre, 10% contained blaze heading in four different directions, with daily temperatures expected in the 110-115° range. Sections of the 210 freeway are shut down until further notice and some neighborhoods in the Burbank hills are being evacuated.

Here is the 'official fire map' provided by the Burbank Fire department via twitter (which I 'borrowed' from the LAPost-Examiner):

No masterpiece, but they're kinda busy fighting fires here.

They say that when the world ends, only people and cockroaches will be left.
I'd like to add Microsoft Paint to that list.

The above map, while very specific in the "what's currently on fire" category, doesn't help anyone who's not familiar with the LA area. LA County is extremely confusing to non-locals, so I took the liberty of hacking apart a google earth screenshot and labeling it as I saw fit. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how the La Tuna Fire fits into the greater LA area.

Click to enlarge. Also, "AIRPORT" should be right above "Noho Arts District," not humping it.
For the record, this is not all of LA, just a good chunk of it. To give you a sense of scale, the Shandy Dandy (far left, beige) is approximately 18 miles from the La Tuna Canyon Fire as the crow flies. If I were to drive the same way (surface streets, as straight as possible) my commute time on this saturday late morning would be about 55 minutes. Using freeways would bring that down to about 35 minutes.

Keeping that distance in mind -- here's how my morning went:

When I got out into the garden today most of the plants were sprinkled with ash, flakes about the size of pencil shavings, if you crushed a handful in your fist. I figured the neighbors used their fire pit last night, maybe had a labor day BBQ. So I shrugged it off and I went about my morning garden chores. 

It was 8:30am and already in the 90°s, but thankfully it was also partially overcast. That took the edge off the heat while I did the morning watering. Awesome. While watering the peppers, I let my eyes wander. 

Even with the heat, it was actually a pretty gorgeous out. Despite it being the height of our summer, it smelled like autumn, that warm and comforting smell of fallen leaves and fireplaces. The sun was mild, hazed by clouds. And the sky was a beautiful shade of...  

...dammit.

No matter how many years I live in the LA area, it always sneaks up on me. Ash. Smell. Dim sky. Warm glow. You think I'd know by now that 1+1+1+1=fire.

My garden and I are in no immediate danger, apart from poor air quality and a minor ash-induced boost in soil pH. The flames would have to battle across nearly twenty miles of densely populated city to reach my doorstep. And while I'm skeptical of many things in life, the determination and skill of the LA, Burbank and adjoining Fire Departments is not one of them. These men and woman are absolutely the toughest, most badass people out there, as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps that's a bias of living so many years in LA (where cops are despised like dogs {unfairly} and firefighters revered like gods). 

Side story:

One summer years ago, when I was in high school, I nearly watched my own house burn down. The short version of the story is that I sneaked back into the evacuation zone to try to locate a missing pet. And I will never forget the feeling of standing with my toes at the edge of my driveway, house behind me, and staring into the face of red flames licking the hillside in front of me. 

Going face to face with the flames is not something from an action movie. The fire does not see you; it is blind. It cannot be reasoned with or persuaded. It is emotionless. Not alive. And you are flammable. Not a person, just a burnable thing. Like your house, your pets, your photo albums. The fire is neither evil nor smart. In an odd way, it is nothing. The maker of nothing. The thing that turns things into ash, and can only exist while it destroys. You can run, but it can run too. It's legs do not get tired. And it can run at you from all sides. It's truly amazing, terrifying, beautiful and horrific all at the same time.

A little melodramatic, perhaps, but I hope it highlights my feelings on the matter and consequently my feelings about the men and woman willing to step between me and fire, don 75 lbs of gear on a 115° day, and do battle against the flames with hose and shovel for 24hrs or more without rest.

So far, we've had no burned homes and no injuries, firefighters included. I very much hope it remains that way.

From the time I started I writing this post to now the wind has changed. I went outside to snap a picture of the 'golden overcast' I keep talking about, but instead got an eyeful of glaring sun and grey-blue skies. It still smells like a fireplace, but no ash is drifting down. The east horizon is undeniably greyer than normal, but otherwise it's business as usual.

Admittedly, this wasn't a typical Gardening post. But some things in life demand attention, regardless of their nature. Should there be any major updates, I'll post again. For now, it's off to check the blogs of others in the LA area. Hopefully they're faring as well as I am here at the Shandy Dandy.  

Happy Planting ~

EDIT - in the time it took me to type this post, one home was lost do to the La Tuna fire. No injuries.

Man eaters, no spots, and Myself

A quick update from a busy week, so I'll get right to it:

Firstly, there is one big problem with having a mantis army guarding your doorstep. In order to increase your mantis population...


...you must first decrease your mantis population.

Don't see it? Here --


I put my phone so close to her I was sure I was going to get my fingers snipped off. For anyone still confused, google sexual cannibalism. ACTUALLY, definitely put the word 'mantis' in there too.
Just in case.

Apparently female praying mantises (or praying mantids, but which I hear as praying man tits no matter how hard I try) chew of their partner's heads during sex only, like, 13–28% of the time. At least according to the article I read two minutes ago on a sorta scientific website.

All in all, there's been a lot of 'good bug' sex in my garden lately. (As opposed to 'good bug sex,' which reads entirely wrong). And, headless horseman aside, I'm super happy to be the host of a future nursery of beneficials.

Because, seriously, I don't even have the heart to show how terrible the aphids have gotten. And the spider mites. And the white flies, kill me, those white flies. I'm basically just growing bugs, with some plants underneath.

Which is why I'm hella excited to see this little lady as well--

Oddly perturbed that my first lady bug has no spots.

Or dude, I dunno. I didn't ask.

Another fun bug fact, the myth that the number of spots on a lady bug determines its age is exactly that: a myth. Though spot numbers can sometimes help you tell the species of lady bug, as is the case with the Seven-spotted Lady bug. I bet you'll never guess how many spots that one has.

I think I've only seen one other ladybug in my garden since the day I moved in. And the fact that they (or at least one) are/is finally showing up, in my time of great need, gives me all sorts of warm and fuzzy feels.

Something that doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies --

sir, please state your name for the record

Whatever this is. Look familiar? Leave me a comment. I've legitimately never seen this wobble walking grasshoper wanna-be before. I'm pretty sure it wants to eat my shit, but I hesitated squishing him until I know for sure.
 ~~~~~~~~~~
 IN OTHER NEWS, remember when I found a mystery seed in a baggie and decided to plant it?


It grew! --


-- really fast


-- like, crack fast. 

 That picture was taken yesterday. To give you some idea of how fast, below is a picture of my Gete Okosomin squash, taken today.


And he's a few days older than Myself. Pretty wild.

So far, I'm thinking Myself is probably a C. pepo squash, based on leaf shape and color. She's yet to form any immature fruit, so until then we can fling around any theory we want. I welcome your thoughts and ideas on the matter. Look like anything you're growing?

~~~~~~~~~~

Oh, and in the off chance you were thinking "Boy, that headless mantis from the first picture sure looks like Bean Bob..."
FEAR NOT.

 

Bean bob is alive and well, which was the first thing I checked too when I realized Corn Carl (now Carlita) had nommed someone's head off. He's gotten big, too, and is growing flap flaps on his back like his cannibalistic lady neighbor. And while I love my mantis guardians dearly, I won't lie -- having a bunch of giant flying snipping fingers everywhere gives me the willies.

Now, as to how long Bean Bob will be alive and well -- it mostly depends on whether he is in fact Bean Bob, or rather Bean Bobbita.

Final fun bug fact of the day -- apparently color is not an indication of mantis sex, as I first thought. Rather, you have to count their abdominal sections. Females have six, males have eight.

Goodie. Looking forward to leaning in close for that one.

~~~~~~~~~~

That's it for today's speed post; Happy September! And, as always,

Happy Planting!

Everything is an Experiment

A quick aside:

My posting habits have, so far, been rather higgledy-piggledy: One minute I'm crawling around in the dirt hunting for mutants and rogues; the next, I'm cheerfully shoving food at you for Harvest Monday.

Figuring out how to bring this blog up to speed on everything that's happened, happening, or soon to happen in my veg-hack lab (without boring myself to death by simply transcribing hours of things I've already written in my growing notebook) has been the true challenge.

And I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't a scientific journal, nor is it my chicken scratch growing notebook -- it's my blog. Which means I need to give myself permission to record things out of order, skip the boring stuff, and disregard anything I don't personally feel like writing about. 

In this vein, if there's an experiment/project I mentioned previously that I never returned to, don't hesitate to fling a question mark at me. I think addressing the projects people are most interested in is a much more efficient use of time then pouring out every detail of every experiment I run. Regardless, I hope you find something here that inspires you, entertains you, or enlightens you in some way. Questions are always welcome, comments are appreciated, but you should never feel obligated to post either. Feel free to just kick back, grab a coffee, and meander through the pages and pics of my wonky veg life.

There, now I feel better.

So FULL SPEED AHEAD! Everything is an experiment in my garden, so it's about time I update you on some of the projects I've got going. Two of them you've never heard of, and one you may have: Congo Watermelon, Cucumber Crosses, and the infamous Purple Peacock Pole Bean.

Onward!

CONGO WATERMELON

Here's the fast forward version. I grew two types of watermelon this season: Sugar Baby Bush and Congo. Or, I should say, I tried to grow. The plan was to cross them. Because when in doubt, that's always my plan. Long story short, all the watermelon plants were like, nah bra, and died before any fruits reached maturity. They were planted in different places, different times, and not a single one of them had a happy life. I have never had such abject and utter failure of a single crop in my entire gardening life. Very humbling. The causes of death were multiple, varying, but mostly spider mites, a strange brown crisping of the leaves (as of yet unidentified) and abrupt and inexplicable shriveling of the vines, despite much molly coddling and special watering.

The strongest, biggest Congo plant got closest -- and gave me this itty bitty guy:

blossom end rot, to boot
 And, as you can see --


-- he was not even close to ripe. Boo. And of course I'd promised to give a friend a watermelon this season, the only crop promise I made. Naturally.

But everything is an experiment, so I scooped out the seeds of the not-mature melon and fermented them for five or so days in an old pickle jar.

Bread and Butter all the way #FightMeDillLovers
Rinsed, laid them out to dry. Guess where?
Pickle jar lid, ftw. 

So the experiment is: How early can we harvest a watermelon and still get viable seed? (Important note: the mature seeds of Congo watermelon are white, not black or red.) Riveting experiment, I know. But waste not want not.

So after a week of drying, today I'm wrapping ten seeds in a wet paper towel and sealing them in a plastic bag. This may be too early, but that's an experiment in of itself: I've found that same-season germination is an art, not a science. It seems seeds need a certain amount of 'drying down' before they're willing to re-hydrate and sprout. Beans planted when the seeds were still green spent several weeks in the dirt before sprouting; melon seeds put in a bag with a wet papertowel germinated 0-20% after one week of drying, while those who had an additional week of drying had germination rates in the 60-100% range. Similar effect with early harvested corn and squash seeds.

Since I didn't know I'd be doing with experiment when I planted the congo, I didn't record the day the plant set this specific melon (as it wasn't one of the ones I hand pollinated). However the seed for the plant was pre-germinated on  a wet paper towel May 1st, and transplanted into the garden a few days later. The first male flower appeared on June 27th, and the fruit was harvested on August 4th. Which means, given bare minimums of a week later for first female flower and immediate first blossom fruit set, this melon was at most one month old. More likely, it was only two or three weeks along.

Do I expect viable seeds? Not really. But I've been surprised before, mostly with corn and direct seeding still green beans. So now, it's the 'hurry up and wait' game to find out.

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CUCUMBER CROSSING

Meet Olsen:

If you can guess why she's named Olsen, you get full 80's points.
Olsen is the Rogue I was originally going to do a Friday Rogue Round-up on. Except I realized my work/life schedule doesn't really allow for reliable weekly posts (as I've been learning trying to do Harvest Monday) so instead I just wrapped that post into this one and here we are.

A few weeks later and a week before I harvested her for seed.

Olsen is a fluke twin cucumber from a selfed Minute White pickling cucumber. That plant (called Mother White) was the only one to survive the heat we had back in June, and was also very productive considering it's less than ideal living conditions. Olsen is her last fruit, before she finally gave up and the vines died.

But there's more to this story -- I also harvested Mother White's first fruit. And actually... we should probably talk about him first.

I was about to say "Meet Dwight" but after twenty minutes of rummaging around in my photos, it seems like I never actually took a picture of him... bad Day.

Anyway, Dwight was an F1 Miniature White x Dar cucumber cross, the first fruit to set out of the trial planting of 3 Dar and 3 Miniature White seeds. Dwight was harvested about five weeks after setting. His seeds were wet processed, left to dry for a week or so, then 5 of those seeds direct sown on July 2nd.

All Dwight seeds were strong sprouts, but two of the five were particularly vigorous, shooting off at warp speed. Then aphids attacked, in numbers I haven't seen in ages. All plants were stopped in their tracks, completely infested. Despite the infestation, one of the two vigorous plants gave the aphids the finger and produced a fruit regardless of their sugary vampirism. That fruit set on August 14th.

The time from Dwight sowing to first set fruit was 6 weeks, 1 day. In contrast, the time from sowing Mother White (Dwight's mom) to first fruit set (Dwight) was a little over two months.

So here's Dwight's baby, the boy that lived the fruit that set. It is a Dwight x Dwight cross, as those were the only cucumbers flowering at the time. It may be selfed, or crossed with a sibling. I let the bees do their work naturally, since no other varieties were blooming.

Since nicknames help me keep track of breeding projects and their progeny, Dwight's baby has been named Divine, since, while technically bush, her mother was the most vigorous and vinelike of the siblings.

Divine: a few days old.

Divine, today

Miniature white pickling cucumber is a white fruited cucumber with black spines. Dar is a green skinned, star-burst butt cucumber with white spines. Green skin color is dominant to white skin color, and black spines are dominant to white spines. I'm still working on learning all the curcurbit genes, but the above holds true in most cases.

As you can see, Dwight expresses the dominant genes from both parents: Green skin and black spines. It has ripened to gold, as Mini White does, but there are seperate genes that govern ripe fruit color that I'm still learning about. So, it can be assumed that this offspring is heterozygous for skin color and spines. So Dwight is the F1 generation, and her fruit Divine is technically the expression of the F1 genes.

Divine's seeds, however, are F2. Much in the way that the baby inside the mother's stomach is a mix of the mother and father's DNA, but the mother's uterus and bulging belly are still entirely her. So planting Divine's seeds is when the real fun comes out. The heterozygous genes will segregate, and the fruits will range from greenskin/blackspines, greenskin/whitespines, whiteskin/blackspines, and whiteskin/whitespines.


Ok, now, back to Olsen:

Olsen, if you'll remember, is Dwight's stepsister(s?). They both have the same mother (Mother White) but while Dwight's father was a Dar cucumber, Olsen's father was also her mother. If that makes no sense to you, no worries. Cucumbers are monoecious, meaning each indivual plant produces some flowers that are males, and some flowers that are females. Bees can transfer pollen from one flower to another on the same plant, resulting in a fruit that technically has the same mother and father. In shorter language, this fruit is considered 'selfed.'

Olsen is selfed, as there was only one cucumber plant flowering (Mother White) at the time. All the rest had died, including Dwight's father. So the pollen could not have come from anywhere else, baring an extremely rare pollination from a neighbor's garden (rare because my closest neighbors are only engaged in growing lawns, weeds, and old car parts, respectively.)

Olsen was the last fruit to set on Mother White, while Dwight was the first. Whether this will ultimately result in 'earlier' or 'later' fruit set in their own offspring is the subject of another ongoing experiment.

Also, Olsen is visibly different: she's a 'twin' of sorts. I'm still researching the genetics behind this. Interestingly, Olsen wasn't the only twin Mother White produced. During her growing season, Olsen and Dwight's mother produced several little twin cucumbers, but none of them matured. Most were buried under the leaves and not visited by bees, and others were aborted as Mother White put her energy into ripening Dwight instead. So Olsen is not only special because she's a funny little twin, but her mother seemed predisposed to producing twins. Does this make her chance of producing twins higher? Another experiment.

The result may be that Olsen produces only twins, some twins, no twins, or doesn't even survive to maturity. Which, ultimately, is the Olsen experiment.

Olsen cross section - the figure 8 cucumber slices are kinda nifty

The hardest part of the Olsen harvest was deciding whether or not to save the seeds from each side of the cucumber separately. I chose not to, but I'm sort of regretting that. If Olsen's seeds end up producing any twins, I do intend to do that in the future though. Seeing as they both came from the same flower, they should in theory be identical twins. But with still more research to do on the subject of curcurbit genetics, I cannot yet say that are conclusively.  As a rule, I try to err on the side of saving more, as opposed to less. It's easy to throw seeds in the trash, but not at all easy to grow the genetics again.

So, to sum up:

MOTHER WHITE x DAR = DWIGHT (first fruit)
MOTHER WHITE x MOTHER WHITE = OLSEN (twin, last fruit)

DWIGHT x DWIGHT = DIVINE (first fruit, still growing)
OLSEN (just seeded) x ? = tbd

In all honesty, there's more to the project. I'm actually growing another variety, and hoping to do crosses with that as well, to improve heat tolerance and increase fruit size. But we'll save that for another post.

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PURPLE PEACOCK POLE BEAN (magpie rogue)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: this project has a special place in my heart. Since I don't like retyping stuff, my first post on this particular rogue is HERE. Clicking it should open in a new window, for those of you (like me) who hate navigating away from the page.

For those too lazy, here's a poor but swift summary: The Purple Peacock Pole bean was supposed to be a Magpie bush bean, but it started growing tendrils and put on purple flowers instead of white. The location where it was planted turned out to be full sun death by June, so I had to erect a strange palm umbrella (that looked like a peacock tail) to shade it from the worst of two, week-long 115° heat waves in June. It somehow managed to survive, put on some beans, and today, finally...

....I gets a dry one :3

 
yeah yeah yeah, it's one dinky bean. But there are about a dozen bean bulges in a handful of other still drying pods. I couldn't wait for the rest. I had to know, today. 

(To see what Magpie beans are supposed to look like, click the link above to my other post.) 

So here we have it, the first bean from the Magpie x Unknown F1 rouge, aka, Purple Peacock Pole bean. Please excuse the photo quality, my camera is my phone and it hates close focus.

 
 


Color: It was hard to get the purple/blue to show, as in regular lighting the seed looks almost completely black. But once I put it under a lamp, the color and pattern really emerged. Since the original beans came to me as accidental F1s, I have no idea what the father bean might be, as the cross would have occurred at the field of whoever Baker Creek hired for the grow-out.

Shape: Magpie beans are originally long and filet types, but this one definitely is not. It's flattened, not very plump, and the edges are smoothly rounded.

Size: I completely forgot to take a size comparison shot before leaving for work (where I'm typing this, shh) but if I had to give a qualitative size estimate, I'd say imagine a regular store bought kidney bean, then cut it in half. The photos make the bean appear larger than it is. I would say it is bigger than a typical magpie bean, yes, but not as long. It probably weighs slightly more, but not substantially so.

Once I've harvested a few more of the beans, I'll scavenge some garden space to plant the F2. We've currently been hit by another 100+° degree week, and temps haven't dropped below 105° during the day and high seventies at night for the past three days. Not fantastic bean weather. So while I'm dancing to get the F2 in the ground, I'm also keenly aware that I will only have about twelve beans to play with. So I'll probably wait until mid September before getting them in the ground. That should hopefully help avoid the next few weeks of scorcher temps, while still getting the F2 harvested before the temps swing too much the other direction.

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That's all I have time for today, but if you've got any ideas on who may have fathered the Peacock bean, let me know! I'd be curious to hear everyone's thoughts. With our bean powers combined, perhaps we can riddle it out.

Happy Planting!

Harvest Monday: 8/14/2017

Harvest Monday! The day when all you amazing gardeners post all your gorgeous harvests in all your gorgeous baskets and then cook gorgeous meals with them.

Also the day when I plop a bunch of over-ripe / under-ripe / butt-rotted / bug-bitten veggie rejects onto a dirty old board and then make hand-guns at the camera.  

Onward!

The Spread: 

left to right, top to bottom: Golden Jenny Melons, Corbaci Peppers, PASS Peppers, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Ajvarksi Peppers, Georgescu Chocolate Peppers, Giant Scissors.

I tried to include me and the hand guns in the pic, but it was kinda hard since I was also the one holding the camera. Merp.

The Breakdown

We're jerks.
These two Golden Jenny melons are a late crop from the pre-heatwave melons. Or an early crop from the post-heatwave melons? Either way, they're little bastards because they started to ripen in the beginning of July and then just... stopped. Ever since then they've just been hanging out together, half ripe, getting sunburns and just, ya know, bonding. In melon years, these guys are ancient.

Their seeds were supposed to be contributing their DNA in the new mixed breed melon bed on the other side of the yard. But noooo... they refuse to ripen. And they've been taking up half a bed of real dirt prime real estate while I've been waiting.

So today I was just like, fuck it, and picked them. Cleared the bed. Feel so much better. Tasted ok, but definitely not that delectable, oh so sweet, perfectly ripe taste of glory that home grown melons can be.

I'll just dramatically over seed to compensate for the likely low fertility from the early harvest. Gardener's version of throwing money at the problem, right?


CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP
These guys, seriously. They mean business. Look at this plant:

He's not messing around.
Truth be told, I have no idea what to do with these Corbaci peppers in the kitchen,  and I find the taste decent, but ultimately shruggy. Damn though... not a single case of blossom end rot (even when all the other varieties were plagued with it) and just pumping out these peppers like there's no tomorrow.

I might have a crush. Just a little one.

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't...

...fuck off.
I'm not the only one excited to have ripe PASS peppers apparently. My first taste last week was thumbs up, and I've been waiting for these three to ripen up with excitement.

BUT SEE -- the PASS pepper does this annoying thing where it sticks the pepper butts straight up into the air. And since they're so plump and curvy, it makes it really hard to see what's going on on the other side.

I swear we're still talking about peppers.

Point being -- I've yet again picked these suckers before they were completely, perfectly ripe. I've also had more difficulty grub huntin' on these plants, as you can see by mr. caterpillar and all the webbing crap.

RAINBOW SWISS CHARD
CLOSE-UP THAT I FORGOT TO TAKE 
GOES HERE

And here, just pretend I said something witty and insightful.


  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Ajvarski! I just... can't I... seriously all I want is... ONE. 
One ripe, un-poopy pants Ajvarksi pepper. 

But to avoid going on a a repeat rant like last Harvest Monday, I'll just leave this here and walk away, shaking my fist dramatically as I go.

I got my eye on you, lefty.
Despite the worrisome diaper-pepper on the left, Georgescu Chocolate peppers are just starting to come into their own and have been relatively unplagued by pests and blossom end rot. This is the first example I've seen on Georgescu. And, alas, the one on the right got a bit too sunny on the bottom. 

As for taste, these peppers have a very distinct flavor profile that only really emerges when very ripe. It's hard to describe, not unlike trying to describe the difference between, say, a black tomato and a red one. It's mostly sweet pepper taste, with a little hint of... something else.

I'm going to sample a few more before I pass a final flavor judgement, but so far... I quite like them.

~~~~~~~~~
Sorry for the quick report, my life is like a Rihanna song right now: work, work, work, work, work, and the rest I don't really understand.

So while I'm not harvesting much, I'm doing a lot of breeding projects, new plantings, and general garden overhaul this week, so check back for more posts on that if you're interested. 

However, if you're still craving more harvest goodness (and who could blame you), head on over to Our Happy Acres and check out what everyone else harvested this week. Happy Monday!