You Can’t Make Mole Without the Olé!

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all of you in the United States! If I did not have a calendar I would swear it was only mid-April and not close to turning over to June. Our brief period of sunshine and warm temperatures has not lasted and even though the calendar says we’re on the cusp of summer when I look outside I swear it’s only mid-April. The burst of frenetic gardening energy brought on by the warmth and the sun of a few weeks ago has been tamped down by the weight of cool and damp days and cooler nights, which have yet to abate and show no definitive signs of retreating.

The silver lining of the the temporary halt to gardening activity is giving me an excuse to indulge my curiosity.  If you’ll recall my post Late Starters and Slow Growers from a few weeks ago, we tried tot throw a germination hail mary of a few additional varieties of peppers that would maybe or maybe not have enough time to fruit. As you can see in the photo below, that effort was less than successful:

serrano.pasila.germination.jpg

Two serranos and one pasilla bajio out of around ten seeds of each. A success rate lower than ones I obtained in many of my college calculus exams. In hindsight, buying a few serrano seedlings proved to be an excellent choice, but I’m still disappointed by how few sprouted, not to mention I was looking forward at taking a crack at making mole sauce. Garden space is already at a premium though so maybe a smaller number of seedlings is a blessing in disguise.

So thus we have my experiment. I’ve placed a half dozen pasilla bajio seeds, for no real reason other than only one plant has survived thus far and also because I’m less concerned at this point about getting them into the garden and their fruit into a sauce than I am at coercing better germination rates out of our seeds, into a cup with moist dirt and a lid.

germination.growlight.setup.jpg

I did a little research and it seems like the most important thing is to keep the seeds warm and evenly moist. That would explain my poor germination rates with the original batch of seeds, where I placed them on top of the dirt and left the temperature of the soil up to the whims of mother nature. This time around I buried the seeds just below the surface to ensure they do not dry out and stay more insulated than if they were on top. I’ve placed them on a seed mat and underneath a grow light to keep them at a consistent mid-80 degrees Fahrenheit temperature, which I think will be the key difference. They are a central American pepper variety so it was no wonder they did not do well in an environment subjected to the springtime weather patterns of the upper Midwest. We’ll check back in a week or so and hopefully see a few plants starting to peek out of the soil. Until then, adios pimientos picantes!

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4 thoughts on “You Can’t Make Mole Without the Olé!”

  1. We made mole for the first time from scratch for Christmas, it was so good! We used exclusively dried peppers from the Mexican grocery store down the street, but I do grow Serranos every year for pepper jelly and hot sauce. This year we grew most of our peppers from seeds saved, including jalapenos, but for some reason I totally forgot to do that with Serrano… I found that the heating mat and keeping them moist just like you do with tomatoes was the key to getting them to germinate and grow beautifully, and then I transferred them outside a couple weeks ago when it was in the upper 60s and they been growing beautifully since (had to get habanero and Serrano starts from the nursery though!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a great project! I need to do sontehimg similar but I get lazy with cooking too. Mainly because I wait till I’m hungry then I’m too hungry to wait an hour+ while trying to cook a gourmet meal.

    Like

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