Saturday, July 11, 2015

Meet Pepe the Pepper...Gardening Success by Anna J Stewart

Greetings sweet romance readers! Hope you all are having a wonderful and book-filled summer. :)

A while back I wrote about yet another attempt to venture into gardening. Up until now I've had a black thumb, but the idea has always appealed. Wait, is there something worse than a black thumb? If there is, I have it. Or...maybe I HAD it because I'm feeling all kinds of successful with my latest attempt: Meet Pepe the Jalepeno and his merry band!

That's my main man, right there in front. I have no idea how long to wait before I pluck him from his home, but for now I'm thrilled to visit him every morning and give him a bit of a drink. Did I mention I started this new gardening foray during California's worst drought ever? Yeah, that would be me, always thinking things through. Every day I save the "getting the water hot" water to give to him and other than that, I think the trick has been to ignore him. That airy little plant just off to the right is the result of some pepper seeds I planted. Not too bad so far although I'm not as encouraged these vines will actually produce something edible.

Oh, something else I forgot to tell you: I don't like jalepenos.  At least I didn't before and for some reason the idea of eating Pepe and his backup crew just seems wrong.  Can I be co-dependent on a pepper?

My herbs, on the other hand, now that I'm having even more fun with.  Earlier this summer I started out with 6 plants: basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, and mint.  Thyme and mint surrendered to the call of the sun (who knew mint needed more water than most?) so they've been bid a fond farewell.  Basil and the others, however, continue to thrive! In fact, I used some basil just yesterday and mixed it with goat cheese, a little salt and pepper, a splash of olive oil and spread it on grilled zuchinni.  Yum!

There's something satisfying about reaching up on the window ledge and plucking off leaves to throw into my cooking. I feel so chef-y, like I should get applause from all those TV chefs I am addicted to watching on the Food Network (so much less depressing than the news!).

So this summer, my small and meager garden continues to grow. Only 2 casualties so far and I'm already making plans for next spring...maybe I"ll report back and let you know how this reformed black thumb of a gardener is doing. In the meantime, any suggestions for my jalepenos are welcome! Pepe can't stay on that plant forever...can he?

How about you? Are you a gardener? What's your favorite thing to grow? Any suggestions for next year? I'm thinking tomatoes...chime in, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy reading!
~Anna J

A geek at heart, National & USA TODAY  Best Selling author Anna J Stewart writes "refreshingly unique, quietly humorous, and profoundly moving romance" (RT Book Reviews) for Harlequin Heartwarming and Berkley InterMix. She's also publishing a series of sweet romance novellas, including MARKED FOR LOVE, that take place in the same town as her Tremayne Family Romances (Berkley). Visit her online at for more information and to sign up for her newsletter. She gives away a surprise gift box to one lucky subscriber in every issue. 

Be sure you've signed up for the Sweet Romance Reads Newsletter to be kept up to date on all the SRR authors' releases!


  1. Nice looking peppers! We are growing pumpkins, hoping they will be nice and big for Halloween.

    1. PUmpkins, how fun! I'll have to put those on my list for someday . Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Anna, love Pepe the Pepper, but I can't tell you when to pick them. I've always loved to garden, but now that we live in the desert, I can't imagine trying to grow a garden. I have enough trouble keeping flowers alive here. I finally found one that the rabbits or whatever won't eat. I planted one tomato in a pot, but it got too hot before it produced any tomatoes. I'm hoping for something in the fall when the temps are cooler. This morning I discovered that something had eaten the top of the tomato plant. I don't know if it will survive till it gets cooler. And I also save the "getting hot" water to pour on my plants.

  3. Pepe is very handsome. Think of him as a 'gateway plant' -- one that will encourage you to grow more and different varieties.