Those Terrifying Thai Peppers

Some days begin with a good chuckle. This morning I opened BBC news and read about a terrorist alert in London. You can go to this url for the full story:Burning chilli sparks terror fear. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7025782.stm It really does sound right out of Monty Python. However, since this blog is The Gardener’s Pantry, I remembered my container planting of Demon Red Thai Peppers surrounding a plant of Thai Basil. This container will move indoors for a few months as I continue to harvest those little red hots and basil.

Thai Pepper and Basil

When I bring a container indoors I check it for insects and anything that might be living near the drainage hole. Insects on peppers and basil aren’t usually much of a problem outdoors but may emerge inside your home or greenhouse. Keep an eye on plants and wipe off any eggs you see on the underside of leaves. if you see those little round pillbugs coming out of the drainage hole place the container on a tray filled with cornmeal. If something is flying around or on the leaves figure out what it is before trying to treat the problem.

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Broccoli & Aphids

I’ve had several questions come to our Nichols Garden Nursery website asking what to do about aphids on broccoli, kale and other cole crops. The critters gather in the crevices and are not always removed with a stream of water. Insecticidal soap prepared according to the recipe on thecontainer works for plants growing in the garden. Use a hand sprayer and try to get those hidden spots.

However, many gardener/cooks encounter multiple clusters of aphids when they’re ready to prepare a meal. When this happens to me, as it did this evening, I give the broccoli a good rinse and trim it. I then prepare a deep pan of warm water and pour in salt (about one rounded tablespoon per quart and drop in my prepared vegetables. Let this sit for a few minutes and the aphids will release. I swished it around and scooped my purple sprouting broccoli into a colander, rinsed with tap water. The pan with saltwater was emptied and filled it with fresh cool water and I transferred the broccoli to it. Yup, there in the pan were some aphids. Again, I rinsed in the colander and repeated one more time in fresh cool water for aphid free broccoli.

If you’re going to be a gardener and not use heavy duty insecticides you will likely see a few insects. It’s part of nature and we are all participants, including the birds and beneficial insects that eat aphids. Freshly harvested delicious food is worth the nuisance and this is actually an easy solution.