Good Help is Hard to Find

| July 4, 2015 | Reply

Good help is hard to find, I was telling myself two weeks ago after a handyman I’d hired for a few hours left the premises. This story is really about my peppers and how hard I’ve worked on them. This year, I wound up with 26 peppers in pots, started from seed, and several at neighbors’, about 40 plants altogether, and I didn’t want to have to move the potted ones back and forth on the driveway like last year (see “Growing Peppers – Part 1” and “Growing Peppers – Part 2”.

Good help is hard to find - peppers on driveway

Peppers in cloth pots on driveway, August, 2014

So, after carefully considering the sun, I established them on my upstairs balcony. Full sun will not hit them till nearly noon (and half the time with June gloom we have no sun till noon anyway), but then, they have from noon till 3PM full sun, then, filtered sun till sundown. As long as I don’t forget about them up there, they should do well, and I can keep the driveway clear for cars, LOL.

Good help is hard to find - Filius blue

Filius Blue pepper plant

The handyman was doing some work on the French door on the balcony so that it would close properly. Here, not far from the ocean, the salty air is murder on door hardware. So, he had the door off, and propped against a recliner, precariously close to my peppers. I asked twice if I needed to move them, and he said, “No.” I should have anyway. I left him up there to work for awhile and he was wrapping up when I went up to check. He loaded his tools out while muttering about learning from his father to always leave a job like he found it, which struck me at the time as TMI (too much information).

Good help is hard to find - sweet apple

Sweet Apple peppers, seeds from Bob in North Dakota

After he was working downstairs, I noticed that several of the pepper cages, that I’d made several trips to the 99 Cents Only Store to get (as they only stock a handful at a time), were mangled, and a bit of breakage on a few peppers. Since I’d worked long and hard to get them as perfect as I could (I have a thing about symmetry, must have something to do with my art background), I was stunned to find them like this. I approached the handyman and asked him what happened. He said the wind knocked the door over and landed on the peppers. I asked, dumbfounded, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Now, I have been on-site contractor on a few renovations and have dealt with workers of all nationalities, and never have I heard a response like his, “I didn’t think it mattered.” “You didn’t think it mattered?” I asked incredulously. He babbled on about them seeming “rustic” and he’d tried to bend them back. “Now, I’m getting a little angry,” he blurted, defensively. I tried to keep from thinking why he’d left the door unattended for it to fall over, and focused intensely upon him finishing the job and getting out of my house.

Good help is hard to find - Margret's pepper

Margret’s Pepper

Now, I ask you, does this look like it doesn’t “matter” to this urban gardener?

Good help is hard to find - peppers

My chorus of 21 sweet and hot pepper plants

Whatever happened to “the customer is always right?” I hope I don’t sound too harsh, but I bet most of us urban gardeners care very much about how plants fit and prosper in small spaces, and how they look, for gazing at our handiwork is the best ticket in town! Believe me, after growing the plants from seeds, potting them up to Solo cups, then planting in cloth pots for their permanent home, using the perfect soil mix and organic amendments, adding recycled crushed glass on top for a barrier from fungus gnats (which is only a barrier if it is undisturbed), futzing around for hours with these inexpensive cages (which are the perfect size for peppers), to get them just right, remembering to water and feed them for six months now…it does matter!

Speaking of good help, I know a family farmer in Delmar, DE, that needs a good garden intern. This person will learn a lot about growing for their future food security, while partaking of the highest quality food. I’m also looking for an impassioned young person to aide me in my garden. What’s the best way to find good help? Recommendations are not fool-proof, as I found. I truly believe good help is everywhere, we just have to connect. Thanks for reading, and please share! – Kaye

Good help is hard to find - buy seeds

Stock up on pepper seeds!

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Category: Community, Garden Musings, Grow Veggies, Urban Gardening, Vegetables, Warm Season

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