Each month during 2016, my Herb Picks will be accompanied by a myth or other tale that has come down to us through the centuries, as well as some useful growing information. These are herbs that can be grown in our area, and are found in the Arbor Gate Herb House throughout the year. Needless to say, not all herbs are available during every season, so keep a list handy of those you want to add to your herb collection.
“How Ahaiyutaa and Matsailema stole the Thunderstone and the Lightning Shaft.” — A Zuni Legend
According to the Zuni legend, which is somewhat long but very colorful, two naughty brothers wanted to play with the thunder and lightning, which belonged to the gods of their people, who lived on Thunder Mountain. One day, their grandfather, a centipede, helped the naughty boys steal the thunder stone and the lightening shaft of the gods. They played at length, though their grandmother scolded them severely and begged them to return the weapons. Through the day the boys threw the thunder stone and ?ashed the lightening shaft about until a heavy rain began to fall. The boys escaped their ?ooded house to the roof, leaving their grandmother behind to drown.
After her death, a new plant, never seen before, emerged from the land of Thunder Mountain. From it grew long pods that turned red as the summer wore on, and that provided a wonderful aroma and a searing hot ?avor, reminiscent of the lightning of the gods. The boys harvested the seeds as the pods ripened, and strewed them around Thunder Mountain so that all the people could enjoyed their grandmother’s gift.
In our region, dozens of pepper varieties can be grown — some hotter in ?avor than others — but all very beautiful whether in the ground or grown in containers. An enormous variety of pod sizes and colors can be produced.
The plants share a need for plenty of sun and water, and they respond very well to harvesting — which promotes bloom and further pod production.