Tag Archives: peppers

Bye-bye basil…..hello lettuce

While goldfinches feast upon sunflowers and nuthatches nip away at the suet, we have picked our way through all the squash, tomatoes and peppers, laying most to rest and ripen in garages and windows.

Final samplings of squash, tomatoes, and peppers.  Clockwise from yellow summer squash resting on top of darker buttercup squash: "yellow" pepper, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, patty-pan squash, with ripening tomatoes nestled among squash.

Final samplings of squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Clockwise from yellow summer squash resting on top of darker buttercup squash: "yellow" pepper, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, patty-pan squash, with ripening tomatoes nestled among squash.

My lone cricket still eeks out his chirps most evenings, letting me know that all the frost warnings are not quite for real…..just yet.  The predicted heavy rainstorms never materialized in our area, only a couple of short-lived squalls one day.  But, it’s so much easier to do cleanup when it’s a lovely, dry autumn afternoon.

The kale, lettuce, chard, and leeks are very happy with the current phase of mild part sun, part cloudy days, alternating with rain, and the nasturtiums that refused to grow all summer have never looked so lush…….

Mid-October transitions in the garden.  Where's Juniper?

Mid-October transitions in the garden. Where's Juniper?

But, it’s not over yet!  It’s not THE final harvest……we’re just getting growing on the fall crops….check back in!

September Bounty

The September pickings are in, just as weather decides it will actually be fall-like!

  • Summer squash:        40 (pounds)
  • Cucumbers                  20.5
  • Swiss chard:                18
  • Kale:                              25
  • Beans:                             4.5
  • Peppers:                         0.50
  • Tomatoes:                    51.5
  • Eggplant:                        1
  • Scallions:                        2.75
  • Beets:                              1.5 (tops & roots)
  • Basil:                               6.5
  • Potatoes:                        2
  • Winter squash:             23

Grand Total:         197 (rounded off)
(Slid on past the August total!)

Total season bounty:  459 pounds

Thank you plants, pollinators, and devas!

A comedy of errors

What would gardening be without some mishaps, failures, or faux pas to keep us humble? The mysteries of  “why did this happen”?  So, I am offering a sort of “comedy of errors” to keep us amused while the main part of the garden hangs in a sort of suspended equilibrium.

You’re looking at a 2-pound harvest of new ‘Cranberry red’ potatoes there in the next picture.  An exceptionally good amount considering nearly 1 pound of eyes were planted!  And the Yukon Golds  and Banana Fingerlings each yielded the same amount.  This is almost worthy of a booby prize!

'Cranberry Red' potatoes being dug up from growing bags

'Cranberry Red' potatoes being dug up from growing bags

I definitely don’t have potato production down (taking place in my house yard in deep, black, breathable “growing bags”).  I had a better crop last year, when I didn’t know much of anything except to keep adding layers of soil.  After reading up on some of their preferences, it’s possible that really hot weather hit at an early stage in their growth, which they don’t like, and I may not have kept them as moist as they like, given their well-drained soil mix.  If I were a grower I would be calling this a loss.  The potatoes are disease free and good looking, just tiny; the vines seem to have thrived early on, but after the really hot weather in July they started floundering.  My suspicion is they were nutrient-starved as I probably forgot to put in some fertilizer in first.

Upper left: Fingerlings (well maybe finger-nail-ings); upper right: Yukon Gold; lower: Cranberry Red

Upper left: Fingerlings (well maybe fingernail-lings); upper right: Yukon Gold; lower: Cranberry Red

Then, there are the “little peppers who could” or my “comedy team”.  Three little bushes pushing out orange peppers as if their lives depended on it (which is what a stressed plant will do).  Two of their neighbors grew out of their stupor and are each pushing out 2 or 3 full-sized peppers.  Hey, at least the nearby basil took off.  Actually, the stunted pepper syndrome has something to do with light availability, too, as they were shaded much of the day by tomatoes, come mid-July.

The comedy team peppers barely hanging in there 10 weeks after planting!

The comedy team peppers barely hanging in there 10 weeks after planting!

The comedy team peppers 17 weeks after transplant-Sept. 2009

The comedy team peppers 17 weeks after planting-still hanging in there, now orange!

The weather continues to yo-yo by 10-degree increments for the daily high temperatures. The lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and chard are growing well, while cucumbers are putting out their last fruits, and the summer squash pushing out their last little groups of flowers where the newest growth is free of mildew.  The now-giant kale is robust and still sweet, but is succumbing to aphid egg infestation, and difficult to clean.  I think our resident ladybugs scattered away some as the old corn stalks were removed.  A short row of purple bush beans survived the deer-browsing from 2-weeks ago and are delivering the goods, although their green bean companions got hit again last weekend, and aren’t long for the world after being half pulled out while still small.  For anyone unfamiliar with deer browsing on beans, they don’t want the beans, they want the leaves, which is great if the plants are fully matured and no longer producing.  (Time for a bigger piece of netting, now that our deer is getting more daring.)   Next it’s time to start sampling the spaghetti squash!  We humans, that is, not the deer.

Knee-high by the Fourth of July

We’ve got knee-high corn!  What this means for a harvest date in the Willamette Valley is anyone’s guess, given the area’s propensity towards chilly nights in early July, even amidst near-90° heat. There have been tomatoes forming over the last couple of weeks, and there are 10 good-sized fruits growing on my Roma in the house yard, but they still may not ripen until August.

We’re hoping that this current 5-day heat wave will boost the bell peppers and scallop squash out of their stupors before the arrival of the next cool front of marine air moves in during this coming week.  As usual, our summer doesn’t really settle in for some days after July 8th.

Better than knee-high corn on July 4th.....

Better than knee-high corn on July 4th.....

June is busting out all over…

It is amazing how much has germinated in a week, thanks to warm weather.  More peppers and tomatoes have been planted, as well as climbing and bush nasturtium seeds, to add some color.  The weather has shifted to an unusual daily thunderstorm pattern, which will give us some watering respite.

Planting day……finally

Two days ago I set an oscillating sprinkler on for 2 sets of 1-hour duration, separated by 1-hour breaks, to dampen down the upper 4 to 5 inches of soil.  We’ve had a stretch of unusually warm weather during the week; moisture setting in nicely after the second day of soaking.

I spent most of today in the new garden spot, beginning at 8:00 a.m., contemplating and editing my layout while soaking the soil for another couple of hours.  The Ferti-loam mix is wonderful; not a weed has shown up yet.  With our spell of hot weather, the raised soil bed is wonderfully warm, perfect for planting corn and other warmth-lovers.  Lettuce won’t be done until later summer.

Participating neighbors dropped by to help spread organic fertilizer on the beds and rake it in.  Soaker hoses appeared, and I started configuring the hose systems, not that they’d be used right away.

Planting proceeded quickly after 5:00 pm., when westerly breezes arose; stores ran low on various plants, so not everything planned was planted.  More bell peppers and tomatoes are still needed.

The morning after.....planting that is.  Where's Juniper?

The morning after.....planting that is. Where's Juniper?

The overall planting includes:
5 tomato plant varieties
6 yellow bell pepper plants
3 summer squash (seeded): patty-pan (or scallop), round zucchini, yellow straight-neck
3 winter squash (seeded): delicata, spaghetti, buttercup
3 cucumber plants: lemon, sweet-slice long, bush crop
2 Japanese purple eggplants
1 chives plant
1 parsley (seeded)
16 ft. of green bush beans (seed)
8 ft. of rainbow Swiss chard (seed)
8 ft. scallions (bunching onions) (seed)
4 rows (@ 6 ft.) white corn (seed) to yield 24 plants total
6 kale plants
8 sunflowers (seeded among the squash plants)
6 vine-type nasturtiums to climb bamboo teepee (seed)
15 bush nasturtiums to stabilize and color the front edge of the bed (seed)
8 basil (seeded)
3 lavender plants (move in fall)

Amendments and supplies:
5@4-lb.boxes of E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Plant Food (5-5-5); raked into top 3 inches of soil; furrowed under corn rows.
Tomato cages
250 ft. of soaker hoses
150 ft. of solid hose (3@50 ft) to connect soakers to house faucets
Brass or plastic multi-channel hose-connectors
Many large cardboard boxes to cover the entire 600 sq. ft. of lawn