Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Garden on July 19, 2011 - Part II

Let's move on to the rest of the "summer" vegetables. I put summer in quotes since these vegetables are harvested in the summer in most gardens but I'm coming to realize accept that summer in this part of the world tends to come into full swing when other gardeners are accepting that summer is quickly turning into fall.

The solanum bed - tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

Most of the tomato plants haven't even filled their cages yet and there's a scarcity of even green fruits to be seen.

Here's a closer view of some of the eggplant, from left to right there are 2 plants each of Black Beauty, Rosa Bianca, and Orient Express. These plants are just starting to set fruits.

To the right of those eggplants are the Ear of the Devil lettuces that I let go to seed. I was cutting them down but stopped to take some photos of them so that I can remember how big they got for future reference.

The seed heads certainly are weedy looking! I've got enough seeds to last a loooong time.

Once the plants were pulled I immediately dug some amendments into the soil and planted out some pepper plants that I had sitting in reserve. I'm not so sure that these runty things will amount to much, but what the heck, I'll give them a chance to surprise me.

Next are the Diamond eggplants that I started from seed. This variety is quite well adapted to my cool climate and has reliably produced very high quality fruits.

They are being slowed down a bit by an infestation of spider mites. You can see the yellowing leaves in the photo above and in the two photos below you can see the white stippling caused by their feeding, you might even be able to see the tiny red dots that are the mites themselves.

Here's the advice for treating spider mites from UC IPM:
If a treatment for mites is necessary, use selective materials, preferably insecticidal soap or insecticidal oil. Petroleum-based horticultural oils or neem oils are both acceptable. Do not use soaps or oils on water-stressed plants or when temperatures exceed 90°F. These materials may be phytotoxic to some plants, so check labels and/or test them out on a portion of the foliage several days before applying a full treatment. Oils and soaps must contact mites to kill them so excellent coverage, especially on the undersides of leaves, is essential and repeat applications may be required. Sulfur dust or spray can be used on some vegetables, but will burn cucurbits. Do not use sulfur dust if temperatures exceed 90°F and do not apply sulfur within 30 days of an oil spray. Sulfur dusts are skin irritants and eye and respiratory hazards. Always wear appropriate protective clothing.
I've successfully treated spider mites on eggplants with insecticidal soap in the past so I'm going to give these plants a treatment as soon as I can get around to it.

Here's the first Diamond eggplant coming along.

More peppers in the foreground, all of them are varieties that are harvested as baby green peppers. From left to right are Fushimi, Shishito, and Pimento de Padron.

The Padrons are the most vigorous of the bunch.

The Shishitos are setting peppers but the plants are not growing well and the fruits are quite small. Same goes for the rest of the peppers, although the Padrons seem to be doing ok but not as well as expected.

I suspect that the tomato plants are out competing the pepper plants for water and nutrients. When I pulled out the Ear of the Devil lettuce plants and dug the area over I noticed that the tomato plants had already sent a LOT of roots into that area. Next year I will have to segregate the tomato and pepper beds like I've done in the past. I'm going to try giving the peppers and eggplants additional liquid feedings to see if I can give them a boost.

As I mentioned before the tomatoes are very slow to set this year, the nights remain mostly on the cool to cold side which inhibits fruit set. Here's the best performer so far - Fiaschetto is an heirloom tomato from Puglia. It's a small roma type tomato that is supposed to be a good all round tomato. I'm really surprised by how well it has done since I didn't expect it to be a cool climate performer. It's actually doing much better than my cool climate adapted varieties - go figure.

Damned rodents...

The chickens got the rest of that head of Sweetie Baby romaine lettuce. Damned rodents.

Some of the pot grown pepper plants elsewhere around the property:

These Padrons got off to a great start but are sulking now. Not enough water I suspect or perhaps they didn't transition well from being under cover to the direct sun, perhaps the black pots are cooking their roots in spite of the cool weather.

The Padrons in the terra cotta pots are happier. Hmm, perhaps the black pots are cooking the roots, I think I'll try to screen them from the sun. The rat depredations in this part of the garden have slowed enough that I can leave these plants uncovered for now.

Pimento de Padrons



Chile Manzano going into year three in the back, Puerto Rico No Burn making a slow come back to the left, Suave Orange also still going in year two, a new Aji Angelo going strong front and center, and a new Chiero Recife off to a slow start front left.

The Suave Orange is covered with small seedles fruits and lots more flowers. I hope it starts to produce some better fruits as the season goes on.

A new for me baccatum variety starting to take off in another cozy corner. Here's the description for Rain Forest from Peppermania: Pendent pods of varying unique shapes grow on medium plant, ripen from a light green to coral to red. Medium Hot when ripe and beautiful when loaded with pods on a branching shrub-like plant. Short season for the species.

Here's a happier Chiero Recife plant, also a new variety in my garden. Peppermania's description: Tasty, aromatic teardrop morsels grow pendent on smaller shub-like plant. Pods ripen from light white/yellow to a coral red with a medium heat. Prolific so plenty of these yummies for fresh bites and to process in salsas and sauces.

Aji de la Tierra going on three years (the baccatum peppers can be perennial in mild climates). This plant has always been a very late producer and I haven't been able to harvest much before the plants and pods get zinged by the first frosty weather. It's nice to see a pod already so perhaps I'll get to try more of these this year. I also moved the pot closer to the house so that I can easily move the pot to a protected spot next to the house when frost starts to threaten.

That's it for today's part of the garden update, come on back for the rest of the tour in the days to come. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. That is a lot of seed from you lettuce plants. I have a few going to seed now, but the flowers haven't quite opened yet on one of them. The others will take longer.

  2. Wow you have so much growing in your garden! I started mine very late this year meaning that I'm still not harvesting anything (I should have melons and tomatoes by now) I'm happy to see the "Ears of the Devil" are doing ok in your garden :) Did't I send you some black chickpeas too? Did they grow well in your garden?

  3. My padrons at home are slow but Nine Palms plants are going gangbusters. Lots of water in well amended beds is the secret. My raised beds at home are warmer than NP ground temps too.

  4. You are making me wish I planted more than two peppers this year! My garden is so small right now, there wasn't much room, but you have inspired me to make sure I have many more next year. If there isn't room in the ground I will need to buy more pots!!

  5. I enjoy your pepper photos, I grow all my peppers in containers also, they seem to be fine in desert heat.
    I finally got the Rocoto pepper seeds to germinate after using 3 packets of seeds last year. This time I tossed the remaining 4 seeds in a cup of water and left them soaking on top of heat mat, guess what, they all sprouted and growing well, should have done this last year.

  6. WOW! You have so much growing in your garden!
    Thanks for sharing..
    Flowering Trees Tennessee

  7. I wish I could grow peppers in my area as well as you are able to. You have such a nice variety and they all look so much more healthy then pepper plants grown in our cool damp climate. I am getting decent bell peppers from a new variety i trialed this year (Lady Bell) but they are kind of the exception to my general experience. I love the variety of peppers you grow and have some serious pepper envy. ;)

  8. I'm always in awe of your garden updates.

    I love the lettuces' name.


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