This year, I’ve ordered a bunch of unique and rare hot peppers. Some are habaneros and others are South American hot peppers. All are exceptionally beautiful and really different. But, as they take longer to mature, I’m starting their seeds first, this week. As soon as they are planted, I’ll continue on with our good old stand-bys and favorites, both hot and sweet. I can’t wait! Starting seeds makes winter go so much faster. I’m starting them a little early as we want quite large peppers to transplant out in the hoop houses and fields.

Here’s my box of pepper seeds. More coming from Texas — Hot Peppers!

I’ve already got my Pro-Mix, which I bought last year, and the containers and flats are in the house. Due to my healing knee, which won’t let me stand for more than 15 minutes, I’ll have Will fill the containers and soak the Pro-Mix with hot water. Then, I’ll be all set to plant, plant, plant.

We grow a huge assortment of peppers as we both love them.
Not only do I cook with peppers and eat them in salads, but I also can them and make various pickles, relishes, and other mixed recipes with them.

I’m just under four weeks after my knee replacement and am doing fine. But, of course, I am getting impatient. Yes, I do my exercises and go to rehab three days a week, but I’ll be so glad to dump the walker and feel like a person again instead of an invalid. — Jackie


  1. Jackie, thanks so much for thinking of us, and posting. I enjoy everything you say! I went to physical therapy about my knee and have done the exercises, but find it so easy to over do and really “pay” for it by bedtime, and the whole next day. Who’d have known that you could hurt yourself exercising (sitting on the couch, no less, while exercising)! Add to that we flew to Hawaii and my backpack was so heavy with my laptop, it made my knee worse with all the airport walking. After prayer my knee was considerably better! I’m writing from Hawaii where it’s 80F. I kinda miss the winter back home. I started germinating orange bell, red bell, and early jalapeno before leaving. Regards from far north California, usually!

  2. I’m sure they will. Really, I love it when the cicadas hatch. Their song reminds me of a big hatch we had when I was a kid. Mom explained all about their life cycle and we went out and caught one so I could take a good close-up look.
    I need to start early so we ensure we have lots of mature seeds from everything, not just a few to replant the following year.
    I, too, can remember lots of way sub-zero Februarys and last year we had 8′ of snow on the ground at this time.

  3. Hi Jackie! I’m glad to hear you on the mend from your surgery. Still praying for you. That’s an incredible collection of pepper seeds! But with you that’s not surprising. I’m down with a bug the brother in law brought home. Thanks a lot – not! I’m getting ready to start seeds myself. I’m hoping for germination for my old seeds. They are three to four years old. I’m going to do some tests to see if they will germinate. I popped seeds out of some apples and put them on damp paper towels and tucked them in the fridge. A couple germinated! I’ve got to get them potted up. I don’t know if we’ll get fruit from them or not. But growing them will be interesting. I’m looking forward to ordering seeds from you next month on my pay day. I have to take 2 of my cats to the vet this month. We’ve got 9 cats, having taken in a friends 4 cats when she passed away. Expensive yes, but my disabled husband adores them. They not only are affectionate but make us laugh with their antics. We had to put our 21 year old to sleep because of cancer last month. It’s of the dreadful things about having cats and dogs. The resident dog is 12 now and we worry about her passing. She’s active for a 12 year old. Anyway, I’m so glad to hear you’re on the mend. Lots hugs to you and Will both?

    • Thanks so much Cat! Your seeds should germinate just fine. That’s not old, old. We’ve started some apples from seed. Some were “wild” apples we found along various roads; others were “store” apples like Pink Lady. They haven’t produced yet, and the store apples were from grafted, commercial trees. So, we haven’t a clue what they’ll be like. But it is a lot of fun!!
      I hear you about the old pets; I hate it so much when one has to be put down or simply dies. I feel so sad.

    • I agree it’s a good thing to test your seeds. Some time back I had direct-seeded some 5 yr old seeds, and then lost a lot of valuable growing season waiting for them to come up. I’ve since done an inventory of my seeds; anything 5 yrs old and older I put to the side and do not use. I keep them in case of emergency only.

  4. Im so glad to see your post!! You have been on my mind and now that your are ready to start planting, I know you are on the mend! We are still recovering from influenza. It has been a long road and exhausting. I am winning the war though, lol. We have been warmer than normal the past week and will be almost 60 again today. Too warm for this time of year for sure. It should get back to more normal temps next week and I plan to start my winter sowing jugs then. I have also decided I am going to start a strawberry bed this year so I am looking forward to doing that when spring is really here. I have been dreaming about putting out new flower beds and also doing some container gardening as well as I am limited on space. I love spring and the promise of new growth. I am thankful Will is available and willing to help you with the early planting. He’s a keeper. Sending prayers for a blessed week and speedy recovery.

    • Thanks so much Marilyn! I’m sending prayers that you and your husband recover quickly from that nasty flu.
      Yep, I sure appreciate Will a whole bunch!!

    • I had strawberry plants from the local nursery and they are like 4 yrs old. I’ve potted the babies until they are no longer connected to the mommas. I transplanted into the strawberry bed, but they never did do well; the deer finally came and ate to the ground. I’m hesitant to pot more babies from my other bed, to eventually transplant (not because of the deer) but because it seems like only brand-new from the nursery are the ones that get a foot-hold and take off growing. I decided not to waste my time.

  5. Dear Jackie, I am so glad that you are hanging in there with therapy. It will be worth it in the long run. AND getting ready for spring planting is just as good a therapy exercise as any. Yes, I think after all this cold and snow, we are ready for greener times. Although, it may snow again as it is still February. But at least it is getting closer and closer to spring and planting. I got so bored in the snowed in days that i got out my pressure cooker and canned some white beans with some leftover ham. So good.

    • That sounds so good. I have to laugh when people tell me they’re all done canning in the fall. Heck, I can every month of the year; even more in the winter, canning up frozen meats, bean recipes, on-sale foods, etc. Yum!

    • Hi, Jan: Last week I realized I had all these whole-chicken remains in the freezer (actually quite a bit of meat). So I did me some pressure canning as well. I simmered for nearly 3 days (not at night) for bone broth and pressure-canned 7 half gallons. One brand-new jar cracked while pouring in very hot broth; so I lost that precious stuff. It was sure nice to get some early canning done. I’ve noticed lids and jars have gone up, up, up in price!! Regards from far north California

  6. Can you can using a water bath safely or do you have to pressure can? I have never used a pressure canner. I was looking at your beautiful picture and thought “what if” thanks Bev sorry I was talking about peppers on

    • You can process pickles, fruits, fruit juices, jams, jellies and preserves in a water bath canner but vegetables like peppers and recipes with vegetables or meats in them must be pressure canned. If you’ve never done pressure canning, please give it a try!! It opens up so many possibilities for you and it’s extremely easy and safe too. I’ll help if you need it.

    • Hi, Beverly: I highly recommend all of Jackie’s books. She has one only on pressure-canning. And I write her often, “Ask Jackie”, with my ifs, ands, and buts, and new-fangled ideas about canning. She knows it all! She even writes novels!

  7. Can you can using a water bath safely or do you have to pressure can? I have never used a pressure canner. I was looking at your beautiful picture and thought “what if” thanks Bev

  8. Jackie, so good to see you posting! feeling better, not great, but definitely sounds like a promising spring for you! just got the last of the snow melt this weekend-drifts dont count. soggy, soaked, ponds galore. remind one- do not start seeds too early or will have leggy sprouts waiting for the ground to be ready, February around here can surprise us with weeks more winter, been studying the seed catalog readying my order(too many good seeds to choose!) Thank The Lord everyones prayers are being answered in a healthy recovery for you

    • That’s for sure Mary! Yep, folks often make the mistake of getting too antsy and starting their plants indoors way too early. We have that wonderful new greenhouse, which is heated, so we can get away with that. (I start plants extra early to ensure we have mature seeds to sell for our seed business.) Having pale, leggy seedlings is not a good way to go.

  9. I’m very glad you’re improving however slowly. A total knee knocks the wind out of one’s sails. Mine was done last July and I think I’m nearly normal (whatever that is). Here the weather is nuts overnight freezing temperature daytime highs in the 40’s. I’m tapping maple trees and the sap is glowing. Last year I started March 5th. I’ve started onions and am growing Bok Choi hydroponically . I thought therapy for my knee was awful. I would hurt for two days afterwards. It was however extremely helpful. Stay upright, take nourishment and get better. Wishing you the best. I missed your Blog.

    • I’m so glad you’re nearly normal!!! I was wondering how that was going for you. Knowing that is encouraging for me. I’m doing PT three days a week and exercises at home. Yuck!! But I know it’s necessary. I sure don’t look forward to going though. You’re right, even icing up, I’m sore the next day, then I have to go back the day after that. Wah wah wah!!

      Wow, tapping maples! How cool that is.

      Love your articles!!

  10. So glad your doing well going to start a new garden in geyser Mt.will be a small one but a good once I’m sure

  11. I only grow sweet peppers – we’re not big pepper eaters – but I find I have to start them in February so that they get big enough to turn red before the first frost. They seem to start out quickly, then when they get to be 2″ or so tall, they really slow down and take their time getting bigger.

    I did try something new (new to me) last year with the bush beans. We can’t really plant out until very late May/early June, so I saved up all our empty toilet paper rolls and in late April packed them into a tray, filled them with soil and put one bean in each one. By early June the bean plants were well on their way, I could just pop the whole cardboard tube into rows in the beds and then plant a row or two of seeds next to them to keep the harvests spread out. Worked really well, we got beans a couple weeks earlier than usual which was nice.

    • I’ve found that having our started peppers in our heated greenhouse really makes them get big faster and stockier too.
      I don’t plant any beans out before the second week in June. But I don’t start any inside. We’ve just found varieties that WOULD make a good crop in the short season we have. Try Provider green beans. They not only are early but produce heavily all summer long, until freezing.

    • Thanks for the good idea, in case we get to move to the cold country of north Idaho; maybe Montana! At present are in zone 9, far north California, where we can nearly grow year round.

  12. I know how you feel, Jackie, having spinal fusion surgery in January. We must learn to be patient….sooo hard!😀🙏🏽🙏🏽

    • Yes, it sure is! But, one day at a time, we’ll get through this. I’m sending prayers your way for a quick healing.

  13. Oh! Jackie 😊😊😊I recognize that package!!! I’m so glad you are feeling well and back in the saddle. We have been praying for a swift recovery ❤️lots of love, Mia and John and kiddos ❤️

    • Thanks so much guys!! Boo hoo, Will must have filled your package. I missed doing that!! I hope you’re not having all that rain and mud slides we’ve seen on the news. Yuck!

  14. Patience Prudence, I mean Jackie. Do *not* overdo it – we all know the end of that story.
    Nothing I ever need to start this early but what you’re growing needs the time.
    We’ve broke a couple of record highs. Chance of rain this week but starting Saturday, nights to get down below freezing. Watching the news tonight, the year I graduated HS it was -21 – and we had record snow that winter (thank you blizzard plus more snow). I remember the town dumped snow behind the high school – it didn’t melt until after mid-May.
    Been talking to friends/co-workers who are also waiting for the other shoe to fall weather wise (aka in the snow/cold belt area of the country). Might be using those tarps we added for firewood covers to cover the strawberries and/or asparagus. An expert shroomer we know insists it going to be a good season this year. AND.. cicada time – I hear two species will emerge making it the biggest cicada hatch in 200 years (in my area). The squirrels will be happy – we can hear them crunching away lol. I suspect turkeys and other wildlife will be dining well too.

    • I’m kind of excited about the cicada hatch. It brings back memories of my childhood when we had a big hatch and Mom took me around to listen to them and find a few to look at. They are really interesting critters!
      I’m slowly getting better and I am taking it easy and doing my exercises (bah!). I’m hoping later this month, to ditch the walker and be able to stand to plant my other peppers, then start in planting our tomatoes a few weeks later.

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