OK just the third year of my garden. First year I put in some raised beds and made my own soil. Although I can read, I often don't follow written instructions and I planted everything too close together. Not bad results, but limited. I ended up just drying the peppers by hanging them in my kitchen with a needle and thread.
The above pic was early in 2011 and by the end I almost couldn't tell where one plant started and another ended :).
Last year I was late getting stuff into the ground and here in Southern IL right after I planted the stuff in June it was like 10+ days of 105+ degree temps. I also didn't fertilize the soil. The stuff grew and grew and didn't die, but nothing really flowered and I got almost nada outside of more cherry tomatoes then I knew what to do with (not a fan of them, didn't even realize I bought that variety).
This year I did fertilize the soil with a combo of manure and compost. My much smaller compost bin (in coffee cans moved to a plastic kitty litter container) is finally working (or at least I think it is). Got stuff in the ground in a more timely fashion.
The garden is starting to produce and I literally have no idea what I am going to do with everything. I've done some Internet research and I have ideas, I just find people here often give me better advice/input then I get anywhere else. Some more details and some pepper related questions below the fold.
BTW: If you just want to talk gardens, feel free. I love to talk about it and there is still so much I don't know (but might be able to help a person just starting out).
My two raised beds are broken into two beds. One are multiple varieties of tomatoes and eggplant. The other is nothing but peppers:
1. Cowhorn (Cayenne)
2. Jalapeno (General Hot Pepper)
3. Habanero (Hot, Hot, Hot: My Favorite)
4. Red Cherry (Mild Hot Pepper)
5. Mommoth (Bell/Green Peppers)
6. Hot Banana (Yellow Peppers)
Now with all the tomatoes and peppers I have I plan to can a lot of salsa I make. Grandmother was a "master canner" and mom says she'll teach me. I can't wait.
But I know I will have a ton more peppers and I am not sure the best way to store them.
Now keep in mind I've lived a lot in Louisiana and I love spicy food. I mean if my eyes water, as long as it via a natural pepper and not a canned hot sauce, well I am in heaven. Heck with most of the Jalapeno peppers I'll just wash them, throw them on a grill, and eat them whole. But with the Cowhorn, Hot Banana, and especially the Habanero (I use to make a green chili) I want to save them for use throughout the year.
I would like to dry them, but not sure the best manner. I know this may sound strange, but hanging them and getting dust on them (yes I know I have a sink with water) as a somewhat OCD dude kind of freaked me out. I've read they freeze well from people smarter then me, but alas that just seems like not a good idea.
I often head to this "real" Asian market about 60 miles from me and pick up their various dried peppers and use them 24/7. I especially like they are whole, including the seeds. Can you dry them in an oven? Is their an appliance you can buy? I want them whole, seeds and all.
I don't know, I just figured somebody here could help.
Cause if I can get all this down I have three more raised beds in my garage I am not using and next year will almost triple what I have and see if I can sell some salsa at the local Farmers Market. I mean I make salsa at home from pretty "shitty" produce I get at a local store, serve it to folks I know that have never had salsa that wasn't out of a jar, and they are like WTF! I often get:
Your salsa is something totally different then that Tostitos or Pace stuff.Yeah no shit.
Thanks in advance for any help ......
Update: Oh a pic of the first pepper of the year. Got a ribeye steak defrosting and will be using this tomorrow to make some fajitas.