The reward comes from watching the bud turn to bloom, flower turn to fruit. I've never done that before! There is already a pepper starting to grow: joy and reward rolled into one, tiny little baby pepper!
Unfortunately, one of the other blooms that unfolded about the same time as the one that has produced a pepper withered already.
And a couple leaves on both the pepper and the strawberry plants show a couple yellow spots - is that the result of disease? Pests? Vermin? Too much sun, too little water? But the rest of both plants look fine and dandy. So do I pinch off the bad leaves? And if so at what point do I do that - just the leaf? Pinch it off where the stem grows out of the main stem?
So many questions, and no easy answers in sight. But I guess that's part of what it means to garden. Granted, resources certainly exist out there that sprang out of trial-by-fire testing, as well as more traditional means of testing, plain ol' scientific research, and sheer experience to yield answers to those questions. And some questions will always have the same answer: don't put too much nitrogen in your plant food or it will kill your pepper plant (for the record I am not currently using any food at all, not that the plants are suffering the least bit for it).
As if all that weren't enough, this morning I inspected the underside of the pot holding these veggies of mine, only to discover tiny roots coming out of two of the holes! I could NOT believe it! I thought that was at least another month or so away from happening! I suspected the plants might outgrow the container I bought for them, but not this fast! Unless those roots are coming from something growing up out of the ground it was sitting on. I say "was" because I've now propped the pot up on some glass squares I found lying around, not only to aid drainage but also to protect the plants from fire ants and Lord knows what else might be in the native soil/sand.
I've also noticed tiny, winged bugs flying around, but I have no idea if these are pests or not. However I discovered a couple days ago that planting garlic with your veggie garden is a very natural way to ward off pests, so if I wind up transplanting my garden to a bigger pot you can bet some garlic cloves will be joining them.
As for the amaryllis plant ... a fourth leaf has joined the other three, but still no stem. From what I've read it's possible that the bulb needed to go through this stage in order to produce a stem later on down the road, so I'm not giving up hope yet. Still, it would have been cool to see a bright red bloom towering above some red tomatoes and strawberries, and yellow bell peppers.
As always, dear reader, if you have experience gardening and you'd like to give me some advice, please do! Until next time ...