This year the new theme is Peppers From The Southwest. I have long been eyeing the selection of chile peppers at Native Seeds / SEARCH and decided that this was the year to explore some of the varieties offered there. They have an extensive offering but I focused on varieties that are mild to medium-hot and I wanted some that are more fleshy and tasty when green and I eliminated anything that was a long season grower. It was still hard to decide but here's what I ended up with:
The descriptions are lifted directly from the Native Seeds / SEARCH website.
Alcalde From northern New Mexico at 6,300'. An early-maturing native chile. Mild-medium heat, with a complex, slightly sweet flavor when red. 4" long.
Casados Native An early-maturing Spanish heirloom from El Guique, NM (5,500'). When green, slightly sweet and fleshier than other NM native chiles. Also has a good flavor when red. Mild. 4" long.
Cochiti From Cochiti Pueblo at 5,200', where loss of farmland has threatened this and other Cochiti crop varieties. This New Mexico native chile is sweet when green and flavorful when red. Mild to medium heat level. 3-4" long.
Isleta Long Collected in 1988 from Isleta Pueblo at 4,900'. This New Mexico Long type chile has smooth skin and is fleshy when green. Flavorful, sweet and fruity when red. Mild-medium to medium. 7" long.
Jarales From Jarales, New Mexico. Various sizes and shapes. Relatively fleshy when green. Mild to medium heat. 5" long.
|Negro de Valle|
Negro de Valle First collected in 2000 north of Buenaventura on the plains of Chihuahua. Similar to Vallero (D020) but contains only the darker, "native, old type" chiles. Some cooks select only these dark brown chiles to the make the best chile colorado. Very productive. Mild to Medium heat. 6" long.
|Pico de Pajaro|
Pico de Pajaro "Bird's beak." From Yecora, Sonora. The knobby fruit are often curved. Mild in heat. Almost 1" wide and 5-5" long.
Quatro Milpas Grown in the mountain village of Quatro Milpas, Sonora. Fleshy and smooth-skinned. Ripe fruites are dark brownish red. Mild heat. 5" long.
|San Juan "Tsile"|
San Juan “Tsile” A native New Mexico type chile still grown by elder farmers in San Juan Pueblo north of Espaola, NM. Early-maturing, mild to medium-hot. 3.5-5" long.
|Tarahumara Chile Colorado|
Tarahumara Chile Colorado An elongated poblano-shaped chile from southern Chihuahua. Very shiny when green. Mild heat. 1.5" wide at shoulders and 3.5-4" long.
Zia Pueblo One of our few collections from Zia Pueblo, at 5,500'. Early-maturing, mild, and when red becomes sweet.
One more Southwestern pepper that I'm growing but is not from Native Seeds is Sonora, a mild and fleshy Anaheim pepper that should be great for fire roasting.
Another pepper that is new in the lineup this year is a short-season sweet pepper that I didn't try last year - Sweet Chocolate (aka Choco) Early bell pepper bred by Elwyn Meader and introduced by the University of New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station in 1965. Ripens from green to chocolate on the outside and brick red inside. Thick sweet flesh. Great for gardeners in short-season areas. (Description from Seed Savers Exchange)
And yet one more new pepper - Happy Yummy Peppers From Dave at Our Happy Acres. Dave sent me seeds for this interesting pepper that he's been growing for the past few years. I managed to get at least one plant to grow from each of the three seed selections that he sent me.
But wait, there's one more pepper that isn't actually new but that I've not grown in a few years and that is Aleppo. Years ago I purchased a plant from the chilewoman.com and saved seeds from the peppers. It's been a few years and I'm running low on dried peppers, not to mention that my seed stock is getting a bit old so they are back.
And while I was in the garden a few of my lizard friends posed for the camera.
|Western Fence Lizards|
There are a number of the Fence Lizards that inhabit my garden. The Fence Lizards like to bask in the sun and don't run off quite so readily as other lizards, like the beautiful Whiptail that I've never been able to photograph. There's one Fence Lizard that inhabits the vegetable garden that allows me to get almost close enough to touch him (her?), and he's a beauty with teal scales interspersed among the scales on his back. I'll have to get him to pose for the camera one of these days.
While the Fence Lizards were obligingly posing on the rocks a Western Skink popped out nearby, and wouldn't you know it my camera battery decided to die at just that moment, but not before I got one snap.
This skink doesn't have the colorful tail that many of the Western Skinks have, but I did get a shot of one the other day when I was out hiking. Look at this beauty, it's hard to miss that bright blue tail.