And, of course, there are things the market still can't give me, which is why, when I was back in Texas in March, I bought some seeds. Jalapeño and serrano chiles, and tomatillo seeds. I can get green chiles from Thailand at Wei Son, the "exotic products" store down the street (other exotic products include lemon grass and tofu, as well as sesame oil, Vietnamese rice, and Indian spices), but they're not quite the same as jalapeños: there's that green taste on top of the hot that's missing because the Thai chiles aren't as fleshy.
I have a small balcony just off my bedroom, and was monitoring it pretty much all winter long to see if it got any sunshine. It doesn't get a lot, because the surrounding buildings are so tall, but it started to get more as spring approached, so I took the plunge and bought the seeds. A friend with a much larger balcony gave me a few pots and a couple of window boxes, I bought a bag of soil, started the seeds in a few of those throw-away pots, and when the sprouts got big enough, I transplanted them.
As of Saturday, here is the result:
Just looking at the picture four days later makes me realize how well I'm doing. That's the jalapeños on the left, the serranos on the right, and the tomatillos on top. The basil that went into the windowboxes is steaming right along and I'm really going to have to go in there and thin it. Sadly, it's the big-leaf variety, not the super-spicy local variety. Next year, I'll know better.
All of the plants in the picture are bigger right at the moment, and they also have more leaves. This came after a period of inactivity during which I assume they were sending down big roots. Now, I suspect, the leaves will keep on coming, and we should have fruit on the chiles, at least, sometime in September, when the weather will still be fine. I expect to be harvesting basil all along and freezing pesto for wintertime consumption. Tomatillos are still a mystery area for me. I know they're physalias, and I've seen physalia plants, but don't know how long they take to fruit or exactly when the tomatillos are ripe and not over-ripe: they tend to go yellow, at which point their flavor is, allegedly, not very pleasant.
Expect more pix from this ongoing agricultural enterprise as the summer continues.