|Peppers are a long season crop. We seed them in April in tiny flats with 200 cells per tray. Then we pot them up in larger trays so that the plants get nice and big. Then we harden them off outside. Next, we use an implement to shape raised beds and lay down a thin green plastic mulch to help keep the weeds down.|
Then we carefully transplant the peppers into holes in the plastic mulch. We then straddle metal hoops across the planted pepper beds every 6 feet and use shovels to tack down white gauzy row cover over the hooped bed to protect the peppers from the cold and pests. We seed cover crop in-between the rows of pepper beds. We uncover and de-hoop the beds when it is warm enough. Then we weed the peppers. We mow the cover crop. We irrigate the peppers through our drip tape system. And then finally, finally in late July we start to harvest the peppers.
So many steps. So much care. So much preparation.
Meanwhile in my greenhouse, growing out from the tiniest crack in the covered hard ground is a pepper plant.
The ground in the greenhouse is a hard packed gravel, covered with a thick black material called landscape cover. Cinder blocks hold up metal tables. One of these cinder blocks ripped a tiny hole in the landscape cover. Then at some point, a pepper seed was dropped and made its way to this crack. The seed eventually germinated and somehow found enough water from the drippings, sun through the greenhouse, and weed protection from the landscape cover, that it began to grow.
This one pepper plant intrigues me. Thousands of other pepper plants have been babied and supported and given every condition possible to grow well and produce many fruits.
But this one plant was not planned for – not cared for. Nothing was done to help it grow. And yet. And yet there it grows out of the hard packed ground with only cement as its neighbor. It’s grown well enough to produce a beautiful, delicious, healthy pepper fruit. More white flowers indicate additional fruits will develop.
Hard-wired into all of us, all living things, are instructions to grow and thrive. To take advantage of what we have to make the life we can. Some of us are lucky enough to be planted in the prepped, gorgeous farm fields. Others not so lucky. And yet. Grow and live is what we are all pulsing and trying to do.
Each day when I walk into the greenhouse to water and tend to our baby plants, I admire this plant that seemingly grows from the nothing. Its sheer tenacity awes me. Under the most unlikely circumstances it pulses, it lives, it grows, it creates for the future. And it is beautiful.