Peppered Up!


If I hadn’t mentioned it earlier, I used redwood boards to build the planting bed that you see in the picture. Both redwood and cedar work, but redwood is likely to remain durable for a longer time and be more resistant to rotting. The wood normally takes on a dull and brown colored appearance, but after watering and wetting the wood, it becomes a brilliant reddish/orangish color. Unfortunately, this is about the only time the wood will look so red. I have a few other planting boxes in my garden made of redwood and you couldn’t even tell since they have lost their color. Also, added some kelp meal to the soil mix as well as a cubic foot of sand. The kelp helps to increase the phosphorus content of the soil while the sand helps keep it nice and friable for the roots to easily move around and to counteract the density of the peat moss.

As for the plants, pretty much everything in this bed is a pepper. With the exception of two: watermelon and cantaloupe. I decided to keep these two towards the back of the planting bed because they are creepers. All of the unused space between the backyard fence and the planting bed can be taken up by the creeper vine so that we don’t need to install a creeper mesh or have the vine intrude into the space of other plants. Since they are just seedlings, it will take them a while to produce fruit.

Now onto the peppers. I planted red, green, and yellow bell peppers. For me, these are one of the most easily identifiable plants, as they have a unique shiny coating on their leaves and small white flowers where the peppers are produced. I’ve also put in some red Carmen peppers, the long ones that look like chillies, but are actually sweet. I really like spicy food though, so to scratch my “hot itch” I planted a ghost pepper. It is ranked at 1 million on the Scoville Heat Scale and is one of the hottest chillies in the world. In fact, it is so strong that farmers in North India place them around their property to keep elephants out. I will probably have to use gloves to handle the peppers, as the oils and fumes it releases can irritate the eyes very easily. Drying one and using it in cooking can last a very long time, as only a very small amount is needed…unless of course you are daring enough to eat a lot. I really want to eat one whole, but I think I’ll do that after I get my college acceptances back, as at that point I won’t be needing my brain for a few months so the damage from the ghost pepper won’t be too concerning.

I decided to make the planting box in a 4 foot by 4 foot fashion for two reasons. One, as I explained in an earlier post, is that it’s better to have one big box rather than a bunch of tiny boxes. Watering the plants is easier as they all share a bed and less construction work is necessary. Next, we can easily reach 2 feet with our arms, so from any side of the box we are able to reach into the center of the bed. Well, I must say I am deeply satisfied with this project. From building the box to putting it to use, this has been pretty fun. There is still a lot of unused space in the garden, so I plan on putting beds in those areas as well.

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