Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Garden Update Continues

My love of chile peppers continues this year. There's never enough space in the vegetable garden for all the varieties that I want to grow so I put many of them in pots all around the house in the areas where the deer don't munch. These pots contain Pimento de Padron, Shishito, and Fushimi peppers, all of these are frying peppers meant to be harvested when green and still quite immature. The Padron peppers are a favorite around here and I've been growing them for a number of years. This pepper has converted many a green pepper hating friend into a lover of this particular pepper. Shishitos are fairly new in my garden. Last year I was given one little plant late in the season and got one small harvest from the plant. They were tasty so I decided to give them a larger trial this year. The Fushimis are completely new in my garden. I've lost track of how many other varieties that I've managed to get to transplantable size but one of these days I'll figure it out...

My most urgent garden task right now is to get all of this planted and the extras given away. The tomatoes got planted this past Sunday and I managed to persuade various friends to relieve me of all but 7 of the tomato plants. I've been getting the peppers into large pots around the garden and need to prepare a space in one of the main garden beds to receive the rest. I've got just a few little eggplant to plant out since I had miserable success getting them to germinate. and there's a few flower seedlings that will wait a week or two before I need to get them planted in a permanent spot.

A nice healthy young newly potted up Pimento de Padron.

And another newly planted and now truncated Pimento de Padron (dang it, those blasted rats!). At least there's a couple of shoots left to grow.

This mangy thing is an Aji de la Tierra chile pepper (C. baccatum) that is going on 3 years old. It spent its first year in the garden bed, then another year here in this pot just inside the garden gate, and this year it's going to stay in this pot but I'm moving it to a nice protected spot next to the house. This variety is a very late producer, so late that the chiles don't ripen before the first freeze hits in late November or early December. I've got a Manzano pepper next to the house that set peppers in January so I'm hoping that the Aji de la Tierra will be protected enough next to the house to ripen up some of its peppers this year. I'll post about that Manzano later once I've cleaned up that area...

Here's the Aji de la Tierra after a severe trim.

This is another baccatum pepper that I thought had completely died this winter. There wasn't a hint of green showing and then all of a sudden it started to sprout from the crown. It looks like it could make a good comeback. I lost the tag but I think it is an Aji Angelo, one fierce looking but very mild and flavorful little chile pepper.

Moving on to the vegetable garden, this bed was home to my overwintered brassicas, lettuce, chard, and spinach. Here you can see where I've cleared half of the bed to get it ready for tomatoes. The other half of the bed has some lovely volunteer Monticello poppies and the remains of the overwintered crops.

These are the amendments that are going into the bed. A mix of crab meal, humic acid, and sulfate of potash in the large bucket. The smaller container inside the bucket has 2 pounds of pulverized egg shells and the other container has a granulated turkey poop based fertilizer.

I never have understood why so many gardeners put their calcium amendment into the planting hole when planting their tomatoes. By the time the plants need the calcium to prevent blossom end rot the plant roots will have grown far beyond the planting hole and out of reach of the calcium. I spread all the amendments, including the eggshells over the bed and turn them into the soil.

Tomato planting is nearly done, all I need are some stakes to secure the cages.

There's one small planting of beets in this bed. These are Golden beets from Renee's Seeds (the best variety of golden beets that I've tried so far) and Chioggia beets.

Next to the beets are the bolting Golden Chard plants from last year. I've been gradually removing these plants and giving them to the chickens. They have to go soon to make room for peppers and eggplants. In the foreground is the Ear of the Devil lettuce that looked so beautiful through the winter. I'm letting them bolt so that I can collect the seeds.

The volunteer Monticello poppies are blooming before the planted patch.

I never did get around to properly thinning the poppy patch so it's quite crowded and the plants are shorter than last year. These should start blooming any day now.

On the left in the photo below are the few January sown Super Sugar Snap peas that just produced my first harvest of snap peas this season. The poppies are on the right. The nasty rust infested garlic is in the foreground.

And more nasty rust infested garlic here. It's such a mess. I don't think I'll bother with garlic next season, those rust spores are all over the garden and there is nothing I know of that will effectively treat garlic rust in a home garden. *Sigh*

That's the latest on the vegetable garden, next up is a Caper update.


  1. You have mentioned peppers I never heard of :o) then again all I don't know would make more than one book:o) All I can say is everything looks good and maybe if I get better at saving seeds I'll be able to barter seeds with you...

  2. It all looks lovely, Michelle. I learn so much here.

    It makes me so happy to see all the poppies at your place. I lost every single poppy to slugs and sowbugs this year. Next fall, I'm planting them both in pots and in the ground to cover my bases.

    May I get some manzano pepper seeds from you sometime? I ordered some from a commercial source and I had zero germination. Argh.

    New to me peppers this year: Cheiro de recife (you're growing that too, right?), Roberto's Cuban (I finally got it to grow well), Lipstick, Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes. From last year, all three of my baccatums (Christmas bell, Aji Panca Orange--which may be really Aji Amarillo, and Dedo de Moca) overwintered, so I'll have plenty from all three again. I really enjoyed them last year. I've also got plenty other basic c. annuums. Thank you so much for sharing the pepper bug.

    I'm so sorry to read about your rust. That is very frustrating.

  3. You always have such an amazing variety of peppers - something that is hard to grow in my region so I am a bit in awe of the variety you are able to produce. I have only one variety of pepper growing this year (a sweet bell variety called "Lady Bell"). It is one of the prettiest and most robust pepper plants I have ever grown, despite my climate! They already have peppers formed and lots of blossoms - so they hold a lot of promise for a productive year.

  4. Christina, perhaps blogger will repost your comment sometime soon....

    What a shame about your poppies. :( Did you ever get the slug population down to manageable numbers?

    So glad you've got the pepper bug, it's so much fun to try varieties other than the usual suspects! I've got ripe Manzanos on the plant now so I will pick some next week and send you some seeds. I did manage to get a couple of Cheiro de Recifes to germinate and survive, I'm looking forward to trying them this fall. I've grown two different strains of Dedo de Moca in the past and enjoyed both. The baccatums are amazing, they are so hardy and the peppers are so delicious. All three of my Christmas bells survived along with a couple of Guyanas and the Aji Angelo. I've been enjoying the dried peppers for months now and will probably run out before the plants ripen up a new crop.

  5. It appears my prior comment got lost in the blogger debacle.... I'll just do a brief follow up...your garden is always amazing... enough said!


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