2018 garden Archive

Despite the funky growing season that screwed with every single pepper plant I grew (even the jalapenos that I always grow didn’t do nearly as well as usual), my one surviving Datil produced a huge number of pods, and is by far the largest and healthiest of all of the pepper plants I grew.  Its trunk is as thick as several of my fingers put together, and while its not TALL, its huge in comparison to every other pepper in the garden this year.  The peppers are easily habanero hot, but Husband likes them.

However it is also, by far, the most temperature sensitive pepper I’ve grown.  I had to shade it from the sun!  Admittedly we had a hotter than normal summer, but “hotter than normal” for us barely hits “normal” for Florida.  And yet I lost two plants to the heat before I realized I needed to shade them.  Not one other pepper plant I’ve grown, this summer or previous, has had that problem.  And now that the fall temps are dropping, its wilting in the cold long before any other pepper plant.  We’ve not had a frost yet, though we had one night dip down to 40(F).  Every other pepper plant out there is still going strong.  And the Datil is showing what sure looks like frost damage!  I’ve got it covered in frost cloth in hopes of keeping it going long enough for the rest of the pods to ripen.

I’m debating digging it up and attempting to to over-winter it in a pot so as to give it a headstart for next year.  We’ll have to see how it goes I guess.

Peter Pepper

Posted October 6, 2018 By Ruth

Pictures below the fold, so that some poor person who’s viewing this at work doesn’t get in trouble…..

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Peppers

Posted September 24, 2018 By Ruth

A bowl full of ripe peppers (thats a fully ripe Corbaci on top):

 

And my first Florida Datils:

Garden update

Posted September 21, 2018 By Ruth

Now that I’ve had my whine for the day…..

The garden is winding down.

Tomatoes are done, a few green ones left to ripen, but essentially done.  Which is to bad because about half the plants are trying to stage a comeback.  But the chances of the weather holding long enough for the new growth to produce is essentially nil.

The peppers took the hint give them by the cold snap and a fair number of green peppers are starting to show color.  Cross your fingers!

This is a Corbaci pepper.  If I could stretch it out flat it would measure a solid foot long.  They’re a sweet pepper, with only the barest tingle of heat right in the center.  And I say that as someone who doesn’t tolerate hot peppers, I grow them for Husband, not me!  These plants aren’t very big, but they’re all loaded down hard with peppers like this.  Husband and I both liked this one, I expect I’ll grow it next year.  I’ll have to remember to give them some support though.  One of the little locally owned hardware stores had some 2′ tall, fairly narrow, tomato cages for sale when I was in there a couple weeks ago, I might swing through and see if they still have them.  All of the other sweet peppers I planted this year are among the “very late to ripen” group.  So we’ll see if any of them turn out.

The giant cucumbers turned out to make stellar pickles.  That very firm texture translates to a very nice crisp pickle.  Husband is delighted.  So I ransacked the plant for the remaining cucumbers and did up another batch of pickles this afternoon.  Now I’ll have to decide if I actually want to grow them again.  If I do I’ll need to remember that they need a proper trellis.  They produce HUGE vines!

Garden update, and notes to self

Posted September 6, 2018 By Ruth

Thats one day’s harvest, over this past week.  Admittedly I’d not managed to get out to the garden in a couple days, but still.

Notes to self

Tomatoes.

I keep trying other varieties of tomatoes.  I need to just stop that and stick to my Black Plums and maybe the Black Icicles.    Nothing wrong with any of the other varieties I’ve tried but we keep going back to the Black Plums.

But if anyone’s looking for a good container tomato, you might try the Black Japanese Trifele Tomatoes.  1: potato leaf, very cool looking 2: they stayed much more compact than any of the other varieties so far 3: they also appear to be less affected by whatever blight or fungus or whatever it is that’s affecting the rest of the tomatoes this year.

The Bill Beans are a nice slicing tomato, but they’re so big, and take so long to ripen, that they tend to end up buggy.

Peppers.

Several of the new varieties I grew this year apparently need support.  Corbaci are falling over hard, as are the Shepherds Ramshorns.  Both paprikas are also falling hard.  The only thing keeping the cayenne’s reasonably upright is that they’re planted in one of the stock tanks.  All just from the weight of the peppers on the plants.  Meanwhile the Sugar Rush are having no issues despite the large number of peppers there.  If I grow any of these varieties next year I’ll need to remember to find a way to help support the plants.

Also, the Shepherds Ramshorns are barely producing, and the plants aren’t very big, that MIGHT be the fact that they’re behind the giant cucumber though.

Bishops Crown isn’t producing at all, though the plants look good otherwise.

Fish Peppers look ok.

Super Nova’s are iffy, plants don’t look bad, but they don’t look great, and there’s only a couple peppers there.

Datils and Peter Peppers both had a harder start, but look awesome now and have a ton of peppers on the plants.

Corbaci plants aren’t huge, but they’re covered in peppers.

The Hungarian Hot Wax peppers came back practically from dead, and now look awesome, now to see if the weather will hold on long enough for them to ripen.

Carrots suck this year, they’re all tiny.

Did I mention I was growing giant cucumbers?

Posted August 19, 2018 By Ruth

Last weekend I made dill pickle spears out of two giant cucumbers:

These two cucumbers made 6 pints of spears!

Then this week I picked these four cucumbers:

Maybe a quart of fridge pickles…..

I’ve been giving them away too, not to mention that I also grew my usual Mini White cucumbers, which I’ve also been giving away at least a few of, as well as eating.

I will probly stick to my usual Mini White cucumbers from here on out, but these are fun at least.

In other news, I made a batch of tomato sauce yesterday.  I realized that I never actually take a photo of the final sauce, and I ought to, since black tomatoes produce a much darker sauce that folks expect:

I love the flavor of these tomatoes though.

More garden

Posted August 18, 2018 By Ruth

Not an entirely happy garden year for me.  First the screwy issues with some of the peppers.  Now more of the peppers have some nasty leaf spotting, which kinda looks like bacterial leaf spot, but not quite.  And now a bunch of my tomatoes almost look like they’ve blighted.  But not quite like they’ve blighted (late blight always affects the fruit too, and the fruit are universally unaffected here).  Ugh.  Broke down and bought a copper fungicide to treat with later today.  The blights, and most similar type problems, are fungal, as are many of the bacterial leaf spot look-alikes.  Plus we went from DRY DRY DRY to WET WET WET, which makes a fungal problem even more likely.  Here’s hoping I can save the rest of the tomato crop at least.

I picked this Cayenne pepper the other day:

Or maybe that should read “peppers”??

An amusing harvest from my Sugar Rush plants:

We were given a Sugar Rush Cream pepper last year, husband liked it so I had him save several of the seeds.  I also bought Sugar Rush Cream seeds, just to be safe.  But I ended up with two plants from the saved seeds.  What you see here is one pepper from each plant.  The rounder one is fairly typical Sugar Rush Cream.  The longer one is typical Sugar Rush Peach, the variety that the Creams were bred from.  I was amused.

 

Ripening paprika peppers:

Fish peppers:

 

Unhappy tomatoes:

 

Less than happy pepper plants:

 

 

Surprisingly happy Hungarian Hot Wax peppers:

Corbaci peppers:

 

Cayenne peppers:

 

My hibiscus plants:

 

We also took down the dead pine in the front yard.  Part of me hates having done so, the birds loved it.  But it was perfectly positioned to take down the power lines to the house if it ever went over.  Infact we were shocked that it DIDN’T go over this past spring, with all the high wind storms we had!

 

In other news, I figured out how to tell when the pears are ripe…..

Garden update

Posted August 3, 2018 By Ruth

We got the first Gagon Cucumber this week:

It measured 12″ exactly, from tip to tip, and weighed 2 pounds 2 ounces.  I don’t think it’s technically quite ripe, but I was tying up the vines to give them more support and it broke off the vine.  So.  Definitely on the tough side, however it is by far the most aromatic cucumber I have ever cut into.  Husband was taking the dogs out as I cut it up, and he walked in the front door and asked what I had been cutting up “because I can smell cucumbers all the way up here!”.  I’m thinking it would make awesome infused water for anyone so inclined.

A picture of the tied up cucumber vines:

They’re basically as tall as me, and most of them have stretched back down to the ground again.

Today’s garden harvest:

the first zucchini of the year, a few Mini White Cucumbers, a nice load of tomatoes, and that big yellow thing is a less ripe Gagon cucumber.  You can’t see it in the photo, but the stem end has only JUST started to turn the pink-brown and scaly of the ripe ones.  This is just as aromatic as the first one, and is just as big, but has much more edible flesh.  It’s still a very firm crisp cucumber, but not to the point of being tough.  I’m thinking these’ll make some awesome dill pickle spears.

A few hot peppers have been dribbling in, but most of the plants are loaded, so at whatever point they hit I’m going to be buried.  The Snow leopard melons are doing well, but it’ll be a bit still before they’re ripe.

I MAY (cross fingers knock on wood) have managed to defeat, or avoid, or something, the bug that was chewing holes in the various sweet/less hot peppers previous years.  So far only one paprika pepper and two jalapenos have had to be tossed for holes.  I’m not holding my breath till I have ripe peppers in my hands, but so far so good!

So, when planning and planting my garden I mostly try to stick to things that I know we’ll eat.  But I also believe in trying new things on occasion, and so when the seed catalogs arrive every year I sit down with a couple different color highlighters and start marking off the seeds I NEED and the seeds that look cool and the seeds I want.  And I try to pick at least one or two from the latter two categories to try every year.

For this year’s garden the one really weird thing I ended up trying was Gagon Cucumbers.  They’re cool looking!  I skimmed the description, made sure that they had at least a chance of growing well in my screwed up climate (” thrives in cool northern climates, but also stands up to intense heat and humidity” sweet!  It has a chance!), and didn’t look much closer.

I took THIS picture on 7/18:

It was maybe 5-6″ long, looking good!

Today I took a few minutes before work to walk the garden, and decided to check on the baby Gagon cucumber while I was at it…..

Holy……Its  now a good foot in length, and still not yet fully ripe.  It weighs several pounds at least.

I went back to the seed link and took a closer look at the description “up to 20” long”……ooops, and there’s several more forming on the vines!

So um, I guess I have cucumbers this year!

I also found these:

Which are my first ripe Black Vernissage Tomatoes.  I haven’t had a chance to eat one yet, maybe after work.

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.