I know when most food-minded people think of spring, asparagus and perhaps strawberries lamb come to mind.
I think of chilli peppers.
More specifically, I think of how people should never leave me in charge of their plants. Owners return to desiccated and withered leaves or rotted, waterlogged stalks. I forewarn everyone that I'm not the person they want to care for their greenery: I know how to cook and eat them...not grow them.
So, what does this have to do with spring and chilli peppers, you may ask.
Well...as my parents have taken to leaving the country for half the year, someone has to take care of the plants. It's taken them a while to realize that I won't tend to things they way they do. The front garden has turned from a patch of green with bunches of green and flowery things that needed an undue amount of attention (read: watering and pruning and other things you do to plants) to a totally self-sufficient entity (at least from January-June). It's quite lovely--one day there's nothing, the next day the tulips have come up...same with the little white bell thingies and the pointy purple things. Apparently there are some red and purple fluffy things that should appear soon. They look nice and I get a tonne of credit for doing absolutely nothing.
Unfortunately, the indoor plants aren't quite as Jasmine-friendly. The collection has downsized from pots of irises, African violets, green frawny things to one cactus, two large jades and one chilli pepper plant.
The cactus and jades are easy--I can forget to water them, then remember they exist, dump some water on them, and then everything's okay.
That chilli plant needs...well...attention.
It fruits (if that's the right word) in February or March and I should collect the fiery little jewels. But I don't. They stay on the vines and slowly dry. I'm not sure that's good for the plant. In April about a third of the vines turn from a gorgeous, supple green to a worrisome brown...and then they get crunchy...very crunchy. Sometime around May it gets too much for me to bear...and I start hacking away at it...just to make me believe that the plant is more alive than dead.
I have no idea if I'm doing this correctly. I look at where the brown and the green meet and then cut. If there's a little tuft of leaves, I leave it on...if there isn't, I don't care. Afterwards I gather the dry spidery bits and pluck off the equally dry peppers. I do this every year and the plant recovers to fruit again in the late summer-early autumn.
It's a miracle this plant is still alive.
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