I'm gardening. Tomorrow's low will be -5, if we are lucky, and I am gardening. Gosh, I love this forum! I never would have thought to do this on my own.
I've been experimenting with starting seeds. In 2010, little knowing how enamoured I would become with them, I didn't start my Frankenchilies until mid-April, and I didn't set them out until mid-June. They never did mature on the plant, so I had to save seeds from green peppers. The seeds from half the green peppers, four of 'em, didn't germinate at all in spring 2011, so I've been attempting to start those for the last two months.
So far, I have two new second-generation Frankenchilies, these from a different plant than the others! I start a batch, wait, and, after two weeks, start a new batch. This morning I see my third batch of seeds has one tiny little guy poking his head up. Yay! By the time the correct time to start seeds rolls around, I will (I hope) have at least one seedling from each of the non-germinating four.
Fungus gnats show up on occasion. I kill them by hand. They are nothing like the fungus gnats I dealt with in fall 2010. That was an especially savage batch, reproducing in the hundreds. These are nice, reasonable fungus gnats who accept being squished against the side of the pots.
Today, I got some seeds I ordered by mail. I decided that this year I will put my Frankenchilies to the ultimate test: a grow-off against the Big Jims. I had gotten some Big Jims in a seed exchange, but I decided to go to the source, the Chile Pepper Institute. I asked them whether the Heritage Big Jims were the same as the Big Jims that hold the record for the longest chile in the world, and they said yes, they merely have better flavor.
So, I am sitting in a cold drafty house in Wyoming, knowing the temps will drop overnight to pepper-horrifying levels. I have two baby Frankenchilies that are feeling pretty good about themselves, and a new one emerging from the soil. I have four different Chile Pepper Institute seed packets sitting beside me. (Minimum order is $14, btw.) I'm ready to go.
Anyone have a jackhammer I can borrow to prep my beds?