After having a relatively mild summer so far by our standards, the heat has finally arrived. Last week saw our highest temperatures of the year, with the thermometer hitting 97°F one day. It hasn’t been much cooler at night either, with the low barely getting below 80°F one night. Despite the fact that most humans and animals don’t really appreciate the hot weather, the garden is doing all right. In fact, the peppers are loving the heat, and many are finally ripening now. Early Sunday morning we had a thunderstorm that dropped 1.5 inches of rain, so that should help perk the garden up a bit as well.
For me, having ripe hot peppers means it is time to make some more hot sauce. I had so much fun with this last year that I planted a few extra hot peppers this year. Ok, I planted a LOT more hot peppers, not just a few. One newcomer I tried this year is an heirloom called Joe’s Long Cayenne. They aren’t kidding when they call it long! Some of mine are approaching 8 inches long, which makes them twice as long as most cayenne types. The plant is loaded with them too. The one in the above photo is the first one on the plant to ripen.
Totally Tomatoes must have read my mind about growing more hot peppers, because they threw in a free packet of Purple Cayenne with my order this year. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but it looks like a keeper, at least as long as the seeds are free! The plant is highly ornamental, with upright peppers starting out green, then turning to purple, before finally maturing to a bright red color. Maybe I’ll grow it in a container next year.
I grew Cayennetta again this year in a container, and an o/p cayenne called Long Thin Cayenne. The Long Thin looks small next to Joe’s Long, but it is a more normal sized cayenne. It is safe to say that I will have plenty of cayenne peppers this year for hot sauce and for drying.
I’ve already had ripe serranos for a few weeks. I’ve been growing Serrano Del Sol for several years now, and it’s a great performer for me. I only grow one serrano plant, because the peppers are plenty hot for my tastes and one plant usually produces more than enough. If I could grow one half a plant it would probably be enough! The plant is loaded this year as usual. I’m growing several Chinense peppers (Aji Dulce #1, Aji Dulce #2 and Trinidad Perfume) and one Bacchatum (Aji Angelo) this year, but they are not ripe yet. I will talk about them later on when I have had a chance to taste them. Those plants are all looking good though and loaded with blooms and young peppers. I’m thinking they will make some flavorful hot sauce.
Some of the cayenne peppers, a few serranos and one ripe jalapeno went into a batch of Basic Fermented Hot Sauce I started last week. I had enough chopped peppers to fill a pint jar. You can see the Joe’s Long Cayenne on top of the pile in the above photo – it was too big for the small colander! Last year I only let the mash ferment for a week, but this time I plan on letting it go for a full month. I’ll be making more hot sauce as the peppers ripen. I already made a batch of No Rooster Chili Garlic Sauce, and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. My favorite thing to do with it lately is to put it on a baked potato, instead of butter. I had it that way for lunch yesterday.
One sweet pepper that is loving the heat is Jimmy Nardello. I can always count on this one to produce lots of sweet red peppers for me. We been enjoying them on pizzas and salads. They are really tasty when grilled.
Not loving the heat though are the honeybees. When the weather gets hot, they start hanging out on the outside of the hive. This is called ‘bearding’, because it looks like the bees have formed a beard on the front and side of the hive. The bees do this not only to stay cooler themselves, but also to regulate the temperature inside the hive. Just as a lot of people in one room can warm it up, all those bees inside the hive tend to make it warmer too. I have seen some of them flying around in loops near the hive, almost as if they are out for a spin to get some air.
You can keep up with other gardener’s adventures by visiting Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from HA!