Gardening Archive

Something weird going on with my peppers

Posted July 19, 2018 By Ruth

So, a couple weeks ago I noticed that the Sugar Rush Cream peppers had something funky going on:

New leaves coming in  pale and twisted.  Mature leaves were fine, but some of the in between new and mature leaves were also affected at least a little.

Thinking I had another deficiency I did some research.  The only thing that appears to match is a calcium deficiency, but that makes no sense.  While I did seem to have a magnesium deficiency again this year I specifically went out of my way to treat it with a commercially purchased Calcium/Magnesium blend supplement in an attempt to avoid that sort of problem.  There are some insects that can cause curled leaves, but they tend to affect mature leaves more than new.

It was suggested to me that maybe the weather was the problem.  When I first noticed it, it was right after the first heatwave broke and all of the beds were a bit over-wet due to the thunderstorms.  But the beds dried out quickly enough, and the problem only seemed to get worse, not better.  Course, our weather has been especially screw this year.  DRY and HOT, then almost chilly and soaking wet, then back to DRY and HOT.

I bought and treated that bed with a tomato/vegetable fertilizer high in calcium.  And at least one of the plants looks less pale and twisted, though the leaves aren’t back to normal yet.  But now the problem appears to be spreading.   At least one of the cayenne plants is doing the same thing, and this morning I spotted the same signs on one of the habaneros.

All three are located in the stock tank self-wicking beds.  They ARE drained, via drilled holes in one end right at the soil line, so I don’t think they’re over wet (and yes I confirmed that they are still draining via those holes).  But the stock tanks are also the oldest part of my garden, so its possible that there’s a deficiency cropping up I guess.

I went ahead and treated the whole garden with the tomato/vegi fertilizer, since it seemed to help at least a little with the Sugar Rush peppers.

I also got ahold of the information I need to arrange soil testing for my garden.  But I was planning on holding off doing that till fall, as it requires digging into the beds at least a few inches, which would mean pulling up weed barrier and disturbing the roots of plants.  I might be regretting that decision.

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Garden Pictures

Posted July 10, 2018 By Ruth

Fish Peppers.  The bi-color leaves is a feature, not a bug.


 

Black Vernissage Tomato

 

Jalapenos

 

Gagon Cucumbers

 

Mini White Cucumbers

 

Habaneros and two different kinds of paprika peppers

 

Sugar Rush Cream peppers

 

Onions, and a couple Blazing Stars that self seeded themselves into that tank

 

The Hungarian Hot Wax peppers (which, sadly enough) look much better now than they did a week ago

 

Cayenne Peppers

 

Black Trifele Tomatoes

 

Black Icicle Tomatoes

 

Datil Peppers.  Apparently they’re more sensitive to to much sun/heat (which is kinda funny, since they’re a Florida staple), and they didn’t handle the heat wave well.

So I rigged some shade for them, we’ll see how it works.

 

 

Peter Peppers.  Note, NOT named for some guy named Peter.  In this case “peter” is a euphemism.  Don’t google them on your work computer…….but it made me laugh, so I had to try growing them!

 

And there you go, a random selection of whats growing in my garden this year!

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Garden update

Posted July 1, 2018 By Ruth

The Green Nutmeg melons have failed for the 2nd year in a row.  I’m not going to restart them like I tried last year.  Will have to decide next year if I want to try for a 3rd.  This time looks like an insect chewed them all to bits.

Most of the rest of the garden is doing very well.  Despite the fact that our weather has been swinging hard.  A low of 46(F) on June 26th, and a  high of 100 today (and possibly higher tomorrow!).  I thought I was going to lose the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, but they appear to have finally picked themselves up.  Most everything else is climbing for the sky and looking awesome.

For anyone else in the north-east corner of the country: be aware that Cornell has IDed a new tomato/potato blight!

The infected tomato plants found in Onondaga County were destroyed, and vegetable pathologists at Cornell are now working to determine what fungicides will be effective in managing what appears to be an unknown or uncommon strain of late blight.

Growers can identify late blight by looking for black or brown lesions on leaves and stems of tomato and potato plants.

The disease thrives in humid, wet conditions and can spread quickly from field to field and over several miles.

 

Last week I stopped into one of the local farms to buy a quart of fresh, locally grown, perfectly ripe, strawberries (priced $5.50), only to discover that they had flats (8 quarts) on sale for $30, as a one day sale.  I came home with a flat of strawberries I wasn’t planning on!  Made regular strawberry jelly.  Made a strawberry & wine jelly.  Ate close to a quart just as is.  Canned up 14 1/2 pints of whole berries in light syrup.  And used my Instant Pot to juice out the rest of them (I froze the juice) for later making of more jelly or strawberry syrup or the like.  Then, this past Friday, I stopped in at a different farm to check on their predicted date for having sweet corn (they produce some of the best sweet corn I’ve ever had), and they also had strawberries, so I picked up another quart.  After eating close to a 1/3 of them I froze the rest in sugar in a quart jar.  So yah, we have strawberries for the year…….

Pictures of my garden today:

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Garden and general update

Posted June 4, 2018 By Ruth

The garden is FINALLY all planted!

Now to get some straw down for mulch and water retention.

I’m growing several new varieties of things this year.  The one interesting looking one so far is the Japanese Black Trifele Tomato, which is a “potato leaf” variety.  I’d never seen a “potato leaf” tomato before!

I still need to cage up the Black Plum tomatoes.  At the end of last year I tossed all the cages into one aisle of the garden.  This year, as I started working my way around to planting I noticed that I was getting yelled at by a Song Sparrow.  Turns out there was a reason for him or her being pissy:

While the nest is nicely snugged in the wedge between two tires, it’s also in the row with all the cages.  I pulled out what I had to for the less sturdy varieties, but I’m leaving the Black Plums as long as I can, in hopes that the cages will help protect the nest a bit.  Unfortunately the Song Sparrow may be out of luck.  As of yesterday the number of babies had dwindled to 1.  Not sure whats happening to them, but I’m crossing my fingers the last baby will survive!

Speaking of birds, there are wild turkey’s ALL OVER this year.  These two wandered across my front yard the other day, to Apollo’s disgust:

The same day, while I was hurrying to an appointment, I hit a not small bird that lunged out the road side ditch as I passed.  All I saw was a flash of a not small wing over the front passenger corner of the hood, felt the thump of the bumper smacking the bird, and looked in my rear view mirror to see a cloud of feathers in the air, but no bird.  It was raining, and I was late, so I didn’t stop.  When I got where I was going I took a minute to check the front of my car, no dents, can’t a been a turkey then, if I hit a turkey it would have left one hell of a dent…..except there were feathers caught in the corner of the hood, and they sure look like turkey feathers:

At a guess the impact was glancing enough to push the bird sideways instead of into my bumper.  There was no body on the roadside when I checked on my way home, so maybe he or she even survived it!

The Bluebird babies are still there:

Last spring/summer, between being sick for a month, plus the broken arm, plus life, I never got the strawberry tire weeded.  Hell, we ate like two strawberries out of it.  So this last week I set out to get the weeds out of the tire.  Unfortunately the neglect may have done in the strawberries.  After pulling all the weeds there was barely any strawberry plants at all!  After some back and forth I spent a couple hours today digging up the remaining strawberry plants, as well as the flowers that were also planted in that tire, and planting them elsewhere in the yard.  The tire needs a refill of dirt/compost, and then I’m going to cover it with black plastic and burn out the weeds.  I’ll plant new strawberries next year.

I also did a half-assed weeding of the hosta bed:

They’re filling in nicely, can’t wait till they fill in enough to cut down on my weeding!

Anyone know what these big ferny things are:

They’re trying to take over that corner, not sure if I like that or not……

 

 

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Garden update

Posted May 25, 2018 By Ruth

Getting stuff planted out has been slow.  The weather keeps peeing down cold nasty rain on my days off, resulting in me getting very little planted out so far.  Which is frustrating.

But some pictures anyway:

 

End of last year I put down black plastic on the tire beds, to kill the weeds, water of course collected, and this frog claimed this puddle, and steadfastly refused to leave even after I literally pulled the plastic out from under him.  A night in the dry tire eventually convinced him to move on however.  The other problem I’ve been having was the discovery that wasps were making nests under the plastic in several spots.  I THINK I got all of those taken care off……

 

We did pull out and fill Apollo’s pool, to his delight:

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I forgot

Posted May 7, 2018 By Ruth

I was going to move a trail camera to watch the garden after I set up the motion activated sprinkler, but I forgot.

Got one sprinkler set up yesterday to cover the garden.  I’ll need a second one as soon as I get plants growing, but for now one works.

Just now, as I’m putting together my morning coffee, one of the cats bolted across the back yard, from the garden towards our northern neighbor’s property.  I leaned forward to look towards the garden just in time to see the tail end of the sprinkler cycle.

I’ll take it.

Trail camera video would have been worth it though.

Sigh

Posted April 22, 2018 By Ruth

Yesterday morning, getting ready for work, making coffee, feeding cats…….reached across the kitchen counter to where Trouble’s food bowl sits on top of Apollo’s crate (yes, his crate is actually taller than the kitchen counters, a side effect of owning a really big dog)…….and slammed the side of my  head into the corner of the upper kitchen cabinet door that had been left open a couple inches.

Now, this was not, by any stretch, the first time I’ve done that.  I’m short enough that the cabinet doors are just above eye level on me, perfectly placed to catch me in the forehead if they get left open.  I’d actually pulled down a different upper cabinet door several months ago after I hit my head on it for the umpteenth time.  But this door was one that I didn’t usually catch, so I’d left it.

I didn’t initially think it was that bad of a hit.  Went into work like normal.  Except that by the time I got to work the side of my head was pretty sore.  By the time I’d been at work for a couple hours the whole left side of my face felt funny, and while my balance wasn’t ACTUALLY being affected it felt like it SHOULD be affected.  So I ended up leaving work early.  Get home, and it occured to me that I hadn’t put ice on the bump, and it was a definite goose egg at that point, so I dug out the ice pack, and after an hour of 15 minutes on, 15 off, the swelling had gone down some, and the side of my face felt much more normal.  In retrospect I suspect the swelling was pulling on the side of my face, and ear, resulting in the weird feelings.

Once I felt more stable I got out the step ladder and screwdriver, and pulled down the upper cabinet door that I’d hit:

These cabinets aren’t right next to the stove, so there shouldn’t be much  grease residue to cause problems, and I can live without cabinet doors.  Especially if it gives me fewer things to slam my head into.

Since I was feeling better at that point I decided I was going to take advantage of the sun making everything feel awesome warm (it was technically barely in the 40’s, with enough breeze to be chilly, but the SUN!  It was awesome, I felt bad for leaving work at that point, cause I’m sure they were slammed all afternoon), and went out to rearrange the greenhouse.  Partially so I could make space for the tomato seedlings and partially to actually check the pepper plants over.  And found that apparently I forgot to tell the peppers that we’re having a delayed spring this year:

That is a Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper, and a Cayenne Pepper, with good sized peppers on each plant!  Oh well, at least I know the greenhouse has been doing its job at keeping the plants warm!

The biggest tomato seedlings are now out in the greenhouse, some of them are over a foot tall already!  Average last frost for me is mid May, here’s hoping I can plant out not TO much later than that, or the greenhouse is going to be crazy.

Also, SPRING!!!!  While making my coffee yesterday not only did I see the Bluebird pair again, but I saw Tree Swallows!  Tree Swallows are straight up flying insect eaters, if they’re in town then it means they think it’s going to stay warm enough to have plenty for them to eat.  So cross your fingers!

Weather

Posted April 20, 2018 By Ruth

The weather forecasters are holding firm in their prediction that next week we’re supposed to get a warm up:

 

So of course I woke up this morning to this:

 

While I’m aware that folks at various points west of me have quite a bit more snow on the ground that doesn’t make me any happier to wake up to a white yard.  I guess Father Winter is trying for one last gasp?  Or else every single weather forecaster is wrong and we’re all screwed…..

I started my tomatoes over the last couple weeks.  A few here and a few there.  Apparently the tomatoes really like the grow lights in my little grow tent:

 

I plan to move them out to the greenhouse this coming week, assuming the weather holds anyway.

Speaking of cats…..

Posted February 28, 2018 By Ruth

So, those if you who’ve been reading here for a while probably remember that I’ve had issues previously with the folks in the house across the street, mostly due to their habit of letting their dog(s) roam (“but she’s a GOOD DOG, she knows to stay in the yard!”).

A couple years ago those folks moved out (I can’t remember if I ever posted that), and a new family moved in.  I was frustrated when I first spotted their dogs, but it didn’t talk long to realize this was a different breed of dog owner.  They don’t just allow their dogs to roam.  Its awesome.

Then, this past fall, they got two cats.  At first I wasn’t sure that they weren’t just feeding a couple strays.  But rather quickly realized that the cats were indoor/outdoor cats, so regardless of how it started, they are now definitely owned by those folks.

The cats, of course, roam.  And while the help at rodent control is nice, both of my dogs would be delighted to remove those two cats from existence.  Apollo because they trespass in his yard.  Arty because PREY!!!  Needless to say this has complicated taking the dogs outside, much to our frustration.  In addition there are absolutely coyotes here.  Quite a few coyotes, of the North Eastern variety, which are bigger, and wolfier, than the western coyotes that many folks are familiar with.  Few outdoor cats last very long here.  Especially ones who are outside after dark.  And these two are, in fact our confirmation that they were coming across the street came when I got ready to take the dogs out at about 10pm, and glanced out my front door window…..to find two cats peering under my front steps.

About a month ago, while clearing the recorded videos from the cheap security camera I have watching the driveway, I noticed a clip (taken only a couple hours earlier) of one of the cats coming across the front of the house, and down the driveway.  A check out the window confirmed a lovely set of kitty tracks  in the snow where he’d passed.  Following them back around the house I confirmed that the cat in question had been hunting in my garden.

Now, like I said above, the additional rodent control is nice.

But cats have a tendency of using garden beds as litter boxes, it’s a fairly common complaint in fact.  And even if these cats don’t do that, I don’t want them digging up plants in my garden, even if they are going after rodents.

While the deer/rabbit repellent is pretty darn effective against prey animals, my dogs think it smells awesome and want to roll in it when I first apply it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the cats won’t be much deterred by it.

After looking at a few different options I think I’m going to buy a pair of motion activated sprinklers and (once things thaw enough) set one on either long side of the garden.  In theory one would cover the garden, but once the tomatoes get tall enough one won’t be enough, so I’ll just start with two.  Maybe it’ll help deter the deer too……

This and That

Posted February 21, 2018 By Ruth

I’m hoping to return to work next week (Tuesday will be 6 weeks), I likely won’t be able to do my normal lifting, but I should be good otherwise.

We moved the automated cat feeder, again, and this time start feeding Trouble her canned food out of it.  This has significantly reduced Shadow’s interest in it, and has gotten her comfortable eating out of it again.  We’ll go like this for at least a month, and then look at switching back to kibble in it.

We had a huge February thaw this past weekend.  Temps in the 60’s, and it was 72 outside this morning!  Course, as I type this a front is sweeping through and temps are crashing hard.  Most of the snow melted, resulting in flood warnings everywhere.  We took advantage of it to set up my new greenhouse:

Husband did all the heavy lifting for me.  But now that it’s setup I can get my christmas lights strung in it and start monitoring temps.  I’m a little concerned about the bigger/taller space being harder to keep warm enough.  I guess we’ll see.  Average last frost isn’t till mid-May, so no matter how tempting it is  I really don’t dare plant out before then.

Pepper seedlings are coming along nicely:

I’ve re-seeded the ones that didn’t sprout, and rearranged so that the plants that were along the edges are now in the middle.  The soda cans are part of an online contest for a Facebook group I’m in.  To see who can grow the best pepper plant in a can.  It sounded like fun, and I had the seeds, so might as well!

Update: 4 strings of C9 christmas lights are holding it 30+ degrees over air temps.  I’ll take it.