Some call me 'The Pepperazzi.' But, no, I just have an earthy side!
If you're into gardening to help offset your food dollar, spring-like temperatures certainly gets you thinking about getting your hands dirty again, doesn't it? If you're contemplating what to grow this upcoming season, consider this...

More and more people are choosing to grow their own vegetables in their own gardens and raised planting beds. For some, this unusually warm stretch of spring-like temperatures certainly gets you thinking about getting your hands dirty again. If you're contemplating what to grow this upcoming growing season, consider The Beaver Dam Pepper.

The Beaver Dam Pepper is a medium-hot heirloom Hungarian varietal that was on the verge of extinction, but is now enjoying a renewed come-back.
Joe Hussli - Beaver Dam, WI (circa 1952)

It's a namesake from the southeast Wisconsin city of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, located northwest of Milwaukee in Dodge County. This is where Joseph Hussli of Austria/Hungary settled in 1912 after escaping the dreads of World War I. Joseph and his immediate family came through Ellis Island, and then settled in southeast Wisconsin looking for work, and to re-start their lives. He literally brought seeds with him in the pockets of his clothes, for he loved this pepper so much, and wanted to continue to grow it here in America. Joe Hussli is my Great Uncle and, yes, that makes me a nephew! (Joe was my grandmother's uncle.)

As I mentioned, the pepper is a medium-hot variety with a relatively thin skin that is great for stuffing, perfect for slicing in sandwiches, or can be used in making a uniquely-flavored salsa. Very versatile, and fairly easy to grow, it loves plenty of rain, and warm sunshine, but usually needs to be trellised, or supported by staking once the plants start churning out their fruit. A well-fertilized planting medium is suggested, as this varietal feeds heavily from the soil.

I bring this topic to your attention NOW because by mid- to late-March you'll want to have some Beaver Dam Pepper seeds ready to go so you can start sprouting them indoors under a grow light.

Most big-box retailers and local garden centers will have seed starter kits and supplies on display by March 1st. I recommend self-contained tray-type cell flats, and even a warming pad to germinate the seeds the quickest. (Usually 7-10 days with a heated pad.) Seedlings can then be transplanted to larger peat cups (3"- 4") until mid- to late-May when you'll make your final transplant into the garden, raised bed, or even 4 or 5 gallon containers. I usually plant them in tandem, two plants per container. Rather than staking I'll use medium-sized tomato cages which I've used for the last seven growing seasons.

The most important element is the actual seeds. I don't have enough on hand to supply the area, so I refer you to seed companies like Jungs, Seed Savers of Decorah, Iowa, or Bonanza. If you're not into the whole sprouting them inside thing, contact me with the INFO below, and I can tell you who sells Beaver Dam Pepper plants locally here in Rochester come May.

If you have any questions I'm here to help. Contact me at my BIO page on the station website via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. Just title your message BEAVER DAM PEPPERS, and use the hashtag #BeaverDamPeppers where applicable. Quick Country Listeners can also call me in-studio on any Sat. from 10am - 2pm at (507) 281-1500

Let's plan to get sprouting! -Steve Richards ~ Quick Country Weekends

#Pepperazzi #BeaverDamPeppers