Accidentally Cooking

Documenting my mistakes in the garden, kitchen and pantry

I Can’t Grow Peppers

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Around March I bought a couple packets of seeds from Home Depot, some biodegradable starter pots and some seed sprouting potting mix. We picked the seeds carefully, and only stuck with varieties that we actually wanted to eat. We had a few tomato seeds, catelope and a mixed variety of hot peppers. I planted a few of each, watered diligently as per the various instructions, put them next to the closest thing we have to a sunny window, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I would estimate that about half the seeds didn’t sprout, mostly the tomatoes, and of those that did the mortality rate was high. Most of what did sprout didn’t grow, and died shortly thereafter. In fact, by the time planting time came around we had only one plant viable enough to transplant into the garden: A sad little sprout of an unknown variety of hot pepper.

We panicked and ran back out to Home Depot to buy some replacements.  I wrote about this batch in a previous post, so I won’t go into any more detail here.

The pictures below show two plants as of mid September: The one remaining mystery pepper that we started from seed in March, and a pre-sprouted Serrano pepper plant that we purchased around early May. See if you can tell which is which:

GUESS WHICH ONE IS WHICH. Take your time. I’ll give you a hint: the Serrano is the big one and the crappy little turd pepper is the crappy little one with the one stupid pepper. And don’t let the similar scales fool you, I’m zoomed in pretty close on the turd plant. It’s about 6 inches tall total, the serrano is about 2 feet and very bushy.

Here’s the Serrano from a different angle, showing just how fruitful it has been in comparison:

The Serrano is kicking butt. The little turd pepper is, as I’ve said already, a different story.

And it’s a very sad story. This pathetic little crap of a plant hasn’t hardly grown at all all summer long. It has maybe a dozen leaves on it, has produced zero fruit, hasn’t grown vertically more than an inch per month, and ranks up among the biggest disappointments in my entire life. Actually, it hasn’t produced exactly zero fruit, the picture clearly shows a tiny little pepper trying to grow. This is the first, and it’s already mid-September. Sometimes I imagine that it’s supposed to be growing some big variety of pepper like a Poblano and it makes me laugh. Seriously, LOOK AT THAT PATHETIC LITTLE PEPPER! Look at it. What the hell is wrong with this plant? I planted it right next to the Serrano so the soil quality should be identical. I planted it carefully. I watered. I fertilized. It has plenty of sun light. All the other peppers grew great. The soil pH is almost at a perfect 7, nitrogen is high enough that the tomato plants nearby practically exploded into a mini rainforest, and this stupid turd plant refuses to grow.

If I knew what cultivar of pepper this was supposed to be, I would vow never to grow it again. I’d sneak into other people’s gardens where I knew it was being grown and I’d hit those with a stick. But I don’t. Your peppers are safe, for now.

I’m going to wait a couple more weeks before I pick the stupid little turd pepper. I’ll eat it, if it hasn’t been eaten by the bugs already. If it is a poblano I’ll jam a few grains of rice in there and pretend to enjoy the world’s smallest chiles relleno.

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Author: Andrew Whitworth

I'm a software engineer from Philadelphia PA. Sometimes I like to go out to my garden, or step into my kitchen and make a really big mess of things.

5 thoughts on “I Can’t Grow Peppers

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