Patience and Technology Pay Off

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A sweet red pepper ripening
In October, a sweet red bell pepper ripens on the vine. It likes a little shade and the cooler temps.

By Renee Adam

I could probably name a dozen reasons in less than 10 seconds of why my iPhone4 was a good purchase. Actually, I could probably do that several times over. However, the main reason behind my purchase was the capability it lends me in writing and posting this blog.  Let me explain….

One of the most nutritious vegetables and sources of vitamin C is a sweet red pepper. That’s great, because my family and I all love eating them. However, red bell (sweet) peppers are also ranked #7 on the “dirty dozen” list of fruits and vegetables. If you haven’t heard of the Dirty Dozen List, it is a list of fruits and vegetables that use, absorb and retain the greatest amounts of pesticides used on them and, therefore, are passed on to the consumer. I am a big follower of the Dirty Dozen List….so much so that I have the Dirty Dozen app on my iPhone. Here is the Dirty Dozen List of produce for 2011, starting with the worst: Celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale/collard greens, cherries, potatoes, grapes (imported).

Anyway, I go out of my way to grow my own sweet peppers and/or purchase organic sweet peppers. So you can imagine my disappointment this summer when week after week I had to pick mushy, scalded peppers and toss them.  The intense heat in late July and early August was just too much for my pepper plants. Having my iPhone in hand when I checked things over the second week in July, I photographed one before I picked and discarded it and planned to ask one of the experts about it.

sweet pepper sun scalded
This sweet pepper was softened and sun-scalded by the intense summer heat.

So, here we are early October and I’m slowly pulling my summer garden plants out of the ground to prep my soil for my winter garden.  The need to pull my tomato plants was obvious, but some of my vegetables and herbs were on the fence, so I decided I had nothing to lose by leaving them and seeing if they could produce. To my great delight, the sweet peppers are thriving! I guess we are having California days here in Birmingham, Alabama, as the days are long and sunny but cool in the evenings dropping down into the low 50’s (but without a frost).

Now let me bring this full circle….if I hadn’t had an iPhone, I wouldn’t have taken this picture and made a note about it. I would have logged in my garden journal that the sweet peppers didn’t do well and maybe even chosen not to plant them next season. But I learned it wasn’t the plant or my soil at all. It was the intense heat—they were burned and/or just didn’t have the energy to color up—and I needed to be patient and let the air cool. I took another picture and logged about my sweet peppers currently growing so that I can make notes in my journal for next summer. Thank you iPhone….thank you Apple…(thank you, Steve Jobs).