I have been looking forward to Baker’s Acre’s Extravaganza event for well over a month. When I picked up my cool weather crops about 3 weeks ago, I also got a chance to pick up a physical copy of their catalog. Holding a catalog and highlighting the pants that I am going to buy brought me one step closer to them in the ground in my back yard.
The Extravaganza started at 8pm, but I arrived around 7pm so I could look take a look around and get out the door shortly after it began. With my catalog in one hand, and my gardening journal in the other, the hour flew by. I started with the cucumber and right off the bat I was disappointed that I did not see the Mexican Baby Gherkins. I continued through the greenhouse to the eggplants, tomatoes and then to the squash. My cart started to fill up and I knew my trip would come to a close as soon as I could figure out what peppers I wanted to grow.
I had been debating over peppers because I want them to be very versatile ( used for grilling, pickling, hot sauce, fresh eating, etc) and be a variety of colors, but there is only room for four in my garden. I ended up going with the Valencia Bell, Padron, Nepalese Hot Bell, and a Jalapano. I really didn’t want to do a jalapeno because it sounds boring and you can buy them at the grocery store, but their versatility is just uncomparable to any other pepper. I recently read a recipe to make your own Sriracha sauce on Food52. To make this sauce, it requires Fresno chilis or red jalapenos. Fresnos need warmer weather than Ohio (why they are usually grown in California), and you usually can’t find red jalaenoes at the grocery, so I figured I would just have to grow them to make this sauce. The guy working convinced me to get the Nepalese Hot Bell because I told him about my experience with the Bulgarian Carrot Chili last year and how it was just way tooooo hot. The Nepalese Hot Bell is not actually a bell pepper, but a pepper that is shaped like a little bell you would use as a chime. The outside rim is sweet, and when you get closer to the seeds it gets hotter. This pepper is the best of both worlds and you can adjust the heat to the needs of your recipe. When researching peppers, I knew I had to get the Padron. It just has a great story behind it. They are used as a traditional tapas in Spain; fried up in some olive oil and then sprinkled with course sea salt. They also give you a little surprise with one out of 20 being spicy and the rest nice and mild. The Valencia Bell wrapped up the search for peppers being the sweetest bell pepper in a beautiful orange hue.
I did ask the man about the Mexican Baby Gherkhins and he said he would do me a favor by grabbing a seedling for me and meet me in line if I prommised to keep it inside on the window sill till at least three more leaves sprouted. Overall, the Extravaganza was successful, but I was sad that their purple tomatillos didn’t germinate. I love the tomatillo salsa I made last year, but this also meant that I had at least 3 square feet to fill and I was planning on going to Plant Fest in the morning.
The next morning I woke up bright and early and headed out for The Worthington Farmers Market Plant Fest 2013. I was planning on only picking up maybe one special tomato plant, but I ended up taking home four beautiful heirlooms. I also got Zephyr squash seedlings!! I didn’t know anyone who sold them, but I knew I had to grow them after tasting them last year from the North Market’s farmers market. These half yellow half green squash were so wonderful that I bought seeds online and was planning on planting them from seed, but alas, I have beautiful seedlings I an plot right into the ground and know they will produce.
Keep a look out for my 2013 plant list! What are some new varieties you are planning on growing this year?