Friday, May 12, 2017

Hatch Chili Peppers

Being from WV, I am not about to attempt to fully describe the history of the Hatch Pepper.  I first heard of it a few years ago on one of my trips to visit CO children.  We always travel from CO to different parts of the Southwest and my boys were familiar with the pepper.  There is lots of information out on the internet about the pepper.  Here's a brief article from one of the Hatch Valley sites.  You can do some research on your own.  And maybe you want to attend the Hatch Valley Chile Festival; an annual September event.  I'd love to hear from any of you in NM that can fully describe this pepper!

Our local Kroger carried the Hatch peppers (both a hot and a milder variety) a couple of summers ago.  I bought a lot and cooked them fresh as well as roasting and freezing.  This year when I attended Shirley Meneice Conference, Cyndie, a member of the Santa Fe GC brought seeds for the seed share.  I was happy to nab a packet.   Hopefully this first year they will taste the same.  I doubt if in future years they will as the NM climate & soil are so completely different than ours.  We'll see.  I will enjoy all the same.

As I did with my WV 63 tomatoes, I took the seeds to my sister to germinate under lights.  There were 42 seeds in the packet and 28 successfully germinated.  They were started at the same time as the tomato seeds, but were much slower in germinating.  We did not pot them up at the same time as the tomatoes as they were still very fragile.  This first photo is from April 13th and you can see they are still small.

April 13 seedlings appearing.
May 12, 2017  By mid May we have repotted and I am in the process of offering to family and friends.  Our weather has been really rainy and I am hoping they don't become too waterlogged.  Two of the plants are in containers on my deck and some of the others are in the ground.  Will keep you posted on their progress!  I brought them home on May 3 and started putting them out this past week.

May 3 and they are hardening off.
August 28, 2017  I haven't posted since May - but my peppers have done well despite the rainy and fairly cool summer we had.  Only a few days were in the 90s.  Certainly not the weather these plants should have and so the plants remained fairly small.  I don't think the peppers are the size that they would have been in NM.  The ones I planted in containers and kept on my deck have done the best as they get the most sun.  Our nights are already very cool and we will see how much longer they last.  I've enjoyed harvesting and trying different ways to fix.  I made some salsa, some Hatch Poppers (like jalapeno poppers) and a layered casserole.  The peppers weren't quite big enough to stuff for individual servings; so I halved, seeded and layered in the bottom of a glass casserole dish.  Then I sautéed some onion and chorizo together and layered that next.  I topped with 3 different cheeses - some cotija, some fresh mozzarella and a jack/cheddar mix.  I covered with foil, put in a 350 oven and baked until the peppers were softened; then uncovered and baked 10-15 minutes more until the cheese was bubbly and starting to brown.  We've enjoyed this great pepper!  If you see some this year at seed share my advice is to give them a try. 

Pot on my deck

Still a few blooms.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Who doesn't find the Jack-in-the-pulpit interesting?  It fascinates young and old.  It is mysterious looking.  With it's fairy garden appearance it is a wonderful addition to a native garden.  Mine are tucked away and clustered in a shady, moist, north facing corner of my house with other spring favorites  (trillium, Dutchman's breeches and Virginia bluebells).  I was excited when I found seeds at Shirley Meniece and quickly took a packet.

It was decided many, many years ago when given it's name that the Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) looked like an old-style pulpit with the striped spathe; a deep, tubular, light-green structure and over-laying flap,  Inside the spathe, “stood” a little preacher, who was named Jack.  “Jack” is actually a spadix, on which grow the actual flowers of the plant. The flowers may be either male or female. Alongside the flowering structure, there are one or two leaves, each divided into three leaflets. These leaves continue to grow after the flower fades and can become fairly tall.  Pollinated female flowers develop red berries, which by the way are poisonous. When collecting seeds in the fall be sure and wear gloves while handling.

Jack-in-the-pulpit is also called Indian turnip. Some Native American tribes would dry and/or cook the roots (corms) of the plant for medicinal purposes. The corms are poisonous and are painful to the tongue and lips and must not be eaten raw.  Cooking breaks down the chemicals.

A good resource page can be found at the Univ. of Minnesota Extension.

My small cluster has spread slowly over the years.  Rather than buy more plants or wait for the slow naturalization,  I thought I would try these seeds.  I neglected, though, to look up information when I returned home from the conference in the fall and am just now pulling them out. As with most perennial seeds in our zone, they require stratification.  I should have placed the packet in the refrigerator and the seeds may now be too dried out.  I could have also tried the method I am using with my peony seeds of putting in a baggie with wet vermiculate.   But, I will try this method and see what happens.  If no success, I now can hopefully collect from my own garden.  Into the water jug now filled with seed starting soil they go - the process now only takes me about 5 minutes and I can set out in the garden and wait and hope.  It's just the first of March; our frost date is not until May 10. Although our winter has been mild there are still plenty of cold days and nights left.

March 7, 2017
Better late than never!  I planted the seeds in my water jug and out into the garden it goes.

Here are the seeds I received.