Monday, January 08, 2007

Green Thumb Update

I consider myself the only teenager within a 20-mile radius that actually grows his own fruits and vegetables...and enjoys it. As you know, I was robbed of my satsumas by an unknown critter and I have had trouble making my Datils produce peppers. When I mentioned this problem to Mr. Stuart Pacetti, he took me out to his garage and filled a bag full of super-phosphorus fertilizer for me. He said that my plants were likely getting too much nitrogen and too little phosphorus, and he told me to go put a handful of that fertilizer on every month or so. Ever since then, my plants have started to pop out lots of little tiny peppers (and a few big ones.) The helping hand and generous heart of a good Minorcan Cracker goes a long way.

These beauties came off of my tangerine tree. We had a bumper crop this year, and I have taken about 150-200 tangerines off of it. But this isn't the main attraction!

This is "Bubba" the Datil Pepper Plant. I planted this guy from seed off my grandma's plants in last March. He's by far my biggest and most robust Datil plant (thus his name, "Bubba") He has a few peppers growing on him now.

This here is "Stumpy" the Datil Pepper plant. My grandma bought this plant as a seedling from a feed store in St. Augustine in February 2006. And, naturally, he was not nearly as healthy as the plants I planted from my grandma's seed. He did not branch out the way he was supposed to, so I had to cut him down to a stump (thus his name) and he is now slowly branching out from the bottom.

I would like ya'll to meet "Shorty" the Datil Pepper Plant. This is another one I grew from seed back in March 2006. He is clearly the shortest of all my plants, but I do believe he is nearly as robust as Bubba. He's got some blooms with their petals falling, so I may have some good peppers growing from him within the next couple weeks.

This guy is named "Skimpy" He's another one I grew from seed. I am a little worried about him because he is pretty skimpy when it comes to branching and foliage. But he DID produce my first full-grown pepper! We'll have to see how he grows out, but I may have to cut him down eventually.

My first Datil Pepper! This thing may look innocent enough, but it is HOT AS FIRE!! My cousin Bradley once ate one of these when he was young, and his face swelled up and burned for hours. You need only one of these to spice up a pilau or a big pot of Minorcan Clam Chowder. Just think, less than a year ago the plant that produced this seed was just a seed inside a pepper just like this.


Paintsmh said...

Oh, yum. Darn it. Must you post fresh, delicious looking fruit, when we in the north have none? Such a meanie. And what exactly is a datil peper? I asked once before, but I don't think you saw my comment, and I can't seem to find that post again even if you did answer. :)

Hurricane Teen said...

paint - ha ha, well, you do have nice fresh apples up there that I would like to get my hands on.

Okay, here's a long spiel about the Datil Pepper for you.

The Datil Pepper was brought to Florida by my ancestors in 1768. It is a staple in the Minorcan diet and is used in a lot of our cooking (including our delectable secret family hot sauce recipe.) It is one of the hottest peppers in the world, and it could likely burn a hole in a piece of steel over time. It is extremely unusual to find the pepper growing outside of Florida and some counties in Georgia, simply because only the Floridian Minorcans have a use for it, and the only places true Floridian Minorcans live in are Florida and south Georgia. And, even here in Florida, a person who actually knows how to grow these guys is a hard pretty much have to be taught by a Minorcan, because you will likely not find anyone else within hundreds of miles who knows how to grow them(we Minorcans stubbornly hold onto this pepper as our own, and we don't want to share it! :-D) For me, growing the Datil Pepper is more than just growing a fiery food ingredient, it is preserving a family tradition that has been passed down for centuries. That is why this little pepper is so close to my heart.

Paintsmh said...

Fresh apples are currently no more than a pleasant memory. None left. All have been consumed. :( I suppose I could always go to the grocery store and get some fruit, but it just simply isn't the same.

Hurricane Teen said...

paint - I know what you mean.

SophieMae said...

Those really are great looking plants. Well, I'm sure Stumpy will be, as well. I don't 'do' hot stuff so much, but my guys love a good Datil pepper sauce.

I do love me a good tangerine, though. Being in the coldest spot in the coldest area of the state, I have been missing our tropical and semi-tropical plants and trees.

Hurricane Teen said...

I'm more than pleased with Bubba and Shorty, and I will be loaded with peppers in a couple months' time.

I like the cold weather, but it makes growing these Datils tough. I have to put them on the porch (because believe it or not, your porch has a microclimate that can be up to 5-10 degrees warmer than your yard,) and I have to cover the seedlings with a hot light bulb underneaththe blanket to keep them warm. But I still like the cold weather!

Floridacracker said...

Bubba's beautiful.
If Stumpy came from the feed store on SR 16 or Roberts on Masters drive, my Dad used to supply them with baby datils to sell until about 5 years ago when it got to be too much for him.
That's some great looking fruit!

Hurricane Teen said...

Thanks, FC. Robert's Feed is exactly where my grandma got it! I would love to be able to do that in the stores with Datil plants. And it should not be hard finding people to buy them from me, because it always seems there is a shortage of them. That's cool about your daddy. It's likely that Bubba, Shorty, and Skimpy are descendents from your dad's plants. I believe my Grandpa Elmer bought his plants from Roberts Feed years back before he died...small world, eh?

Anonymous said...

hi there,

heh, i'm from st. augustine and i probably went to school with your parents.

a nice fellow at the outback restaurant off of 16 sent me a shriveled datil pepper about 4 years ago with a hot sauce order and i've been growing datils ever since (in containers on my deck, central FL) i make my own sauce for home use from the recipe that ended up online from the pursley's ( molasses junction. )

datils rule!