Super Bore Or Super Bell?

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Best Super Bowl Ad EVER!
With all due apologies to the fresh corn industry, I must admit, I thought the Bud Lite Corn Syrup commercial was the funniest thing I've seen on TV in quite some time. Don't get me wrong! I love me some corn. I personally believe corn grown in the Sloughhouse area of Sacramento County is, in fact, the best corn in the world. I wish no harm upon our fine corn farmers!

But that Bud Lite Corn Syrup ad that ran during last Sunday's Super Bore was absolutely hilarious. I am still busting up over the line of: "would you please smoke outside?" However, Bud Lite's pun and knock against all thing corn syrup will not stop me from purchasing Sloughhouse corn. Additionally, you will not find any Bud Lite in the Bird refrigerator. However, if you look hard enough, you just might find a bottle of the High Life. But, enough of that already. I've strayed much too far.

Cat Bowling Pins?
My friends, rather than watch the NFL bestow yet another title on Tom Brady last Sunday (BORING), my mind was positively fixated on the image that appears to your very left. Can you guess what those cups might represent? Bowling pins for the naughty Cat that is Lenny? That is a good guess, but NO. And although Lenny has already cast a rather envious glance at the cups placed on that bedroom window, I hope that cat knows better.

I hope.

Those cups placed against yonder windowsill represent the start of my summer 2019 vegetable garden. Would they represent the 13 varieties of heirloom tomatoes I will be growing this summer? Good guess, but also wrong. It's still a bit too early for that activity, though some have already started. No, the seeds placed in those cups all contain the same variety: The California Wonder Bell Pepper.

First introduced in 1928, the California Wonder is now a sweet staple in nearly every backyard garden. These are these big and blocky peppers that can be found in nearly every dish, ranging from salads, stir fry meals, fajitas or just brushed with olive oil and placed on a grill. You can also find them in home-canned items such as tomato sauces and SALSA. Roasted or fresh, the California Wonder represents one word: SUMMER.

Garden grown Bell Peppers are nearly as popular as home-grown tomatoes. According to the Masters of Horticulture Blog, "Bell peppers are the most commonly grown pepper in the United States.  According to the National Nursery survey, 46-percent of gardeners grow them every year.  Second, according to the same survey, bell peppers are the third most popular vegetable grown in American gardens.  Third, the bell pepper is the most consumed pepper in America.  According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Americans eat 9.8 pounds of them per year.  And finally, bell peppers are the only peppers in the genus that do not produce capsaicin.  Capsaicin is the compound that makes most members of the genus Capsicum hot."

Perfect for Seed Starting Efforts
The reaction from most of my pepper growing friends is going to be pretty typical, I think. People like Jake Seed and Dave Jesse are thinking along the lines of: "PFFFT! ROOKIE!" And you know what? They're right. To them? My pepper planting efforts are rather late.

You see, while the vast majority of us are thinking about  the Peppermint Wishes and Candy Cane Dreams of the Christmas Season, the pepper guys are thinking about peppers so hot they would melt Santa's tongue. There's a reason why Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer gives these homes a wide berth. These guys are serious. January 1st doesn't just signal the start of the new year. It means it's time to plant pepper seeds of all shapes and sizes for the upcoming summer gardening season.

Planting Seeds
Why start pepper seeds so early and why am I late? There's a good answer for that. Pepper seeds tend to grow much slowly than tomato seeds, which essentially sprout and grow like weeds until they are transplanted. As KFBK NewsTalk 1530 Gardening Show Host Farmer Fred Hoffman put it so eloquently to me once: "PEPPERS NEED HEAT!" Unfortunately, there's little heat to be found during the Northern California months of December, January and February. So, pepper growers get very inventive to creating the kind of heat they need to give seedlings the boost that they need.

I recall that one of these growers, and I won't mention names (Dave Jesse), placed his seeds in sealed starter cups and placed them under a woodstove. Where his cat promptly found them. Great fun ensued.

What's the payoff for my seed starting efforts? 13 large and healthy California Wonder Bell Pepper starter plants. Do I intend to plant all 13 in my summer garden? Are you nuts? Gardeners do not live on bell peppers alone. This means I will have plenty to share, or trade, once the transplant season begins (provided it stops raining at some point).

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!
Hopefully, the seedlings I have planted against my bedroom windowsill will sprout and start to grow (albeit slowly) in another day or two. Also, hopefully, the giant shade trees that dot this Citrus Heights neighborhood don't blot out the needed sunshine.

Finally, hopefully, here's hoping a certain Maine Coon cat can ignore the urge to start swatting what's been carefully placed on a windowsill that he can easily reach.

Hope springs eternal.


Unknown said...

Haha! I actually still haven't started any seeds yet this year. I'm LAME-O!!

gidagin25 said...

Bill, Can you tell us the status of your Duke avocado tree and how it is doing? I just moved up here from So Cal and am wondering ig the trip to Oroville would be worth it for starting a graft of my own.

Bill Bird said...

Comments! I probably should check this blog more often. Unfortunately, the Duke Avocado adventure was part of a former lifetime. I have no idea how that tree is doing. I hope it's doing well, but I haven't seen it for nearly three years. I don't own it anymore. I no longer live at or own the house where it's planted. Short and sweet? Who knows? Sorry I can't give you anything beyond that. As for the mother tree in Oroville, that is also unknown. The land in question, with the depot, was up for sale the last time I saw it. No idea if it sold or not.

gidagin25 said...

Thanks for the reply, Bill. I appreciate it.

Gezim said...


I'm wondering where I can find the Mulberry tree referenced here:

Bill Bird said...

It's been so long I've forgotten. It's somewhere in Fair Oaks as I recall. That was years ago. I haven't been back to that tree since. I can tell you that trees just like that one are all over the Citrus Heights area. There are several located in C-Bar-C Park -- including a giant tree in the parking lot. If you walk the trails around the baseball diamonds, you will find a lot more of them. There are also blackberry bushes everywhere that offer up a bushel of fruit later in the summer.