Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pepper: Leave a pepper, take a pepper

Except for the hail and winter temperatures on Saturday morning, this weekend was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the mosquitoes were biting, and I got a bunch of gardening done.

One of the big things I had to do was decide what to do with the bell pepper plants. As I mentioned a while back, I have two plants. One is a green pepper and was really cheap. The other is a red bell pepper from Del Monte. The planter they are in takes up a lot of space, and if these plants aren't going to be productive I can't justify them sticking around.

First, I took a good look at the red bell pepper. It has been nothing more than a stick since last autumn, and it didn't seem to show any signs of life. I pushed some of the soil off of the roots and found that most of the root was dried out and brittle. There was some root fibers that were still alive, but the majority of the plant was clearly dead. I uprooted the entire thing and tossed it into the mulching pit.

Next, I looked again at the green bell pepper. This plant has had the same leaves since last autumn, and also seems lifeless. However there were a couple hopeful signs.

The first positive sign was newly formed nodules and leaflets along the stem. These surely a dead plant wouldn't produce such things. I took some pictures. You can even make out what seems to be a flower forming along with the leaves.

The picture is grotesque, but it's just an extreme closeup of the nodules.

The other positive sign was a green stem. The top of the plant was broken off in a wind storm and it ended up looking like a dried out stick. I took some shears to it and snipped off the ragged end and found that the inside of the stem was green and moist. Clearly, the plant was still absorbing water, and that also bodes well for the plant's health.

Since peppers are generally a summer vegetable, there is still a lot of time for this plant to recover and grow. I'm going to keep my eye on it.

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