Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pepper Plans

Last year's pepper harvest was really nice. This year's was plagued by mismanagement on my part. So many of the seeds I took from peppers I bought at the store failed to germinate. And some of those that did produced rather peculiar crossbreeds - I think my jalapenoes and my Hungarian Wax peppers from last year cross pollinated. Oops. Interesting, but not particularly exciting crossbreeds.

For next year I was thinking about the following varieties:

Pepper plan
Will probably select 2-4 additional varieties while browsing the seed catalogs and grow a couple of each. Since my peppers grew very well in buckets this year, I'll grow most of them in buckets. So I need...~70 buckets. Right now I've amassed 20. Probably will grow the Anaheims directly in the ground in the back garden, so that bumps it down to ~50.

Oh, another thing that worked really well this year is grass clippings in the pots. A layer of grass clippings helps the plants retain water and prevented weeds.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Next Year

So a couple of plans for next year.

First pass
Over the tomatoes and corn I'll build a chicken wire cage to keep out the squirrels. Yeah, it's that bad.

I'm thinking big tomatoes in the fenced in garden, and a variety of cherry tomatoes in buckets, most likely on the front porch. I've been amassing a large quantity of 3 gallon buckets (they serve up loads of hard boiled eggs at work from the buckets). Going to use those for peppers. And then finally the tons of empty 2 liter bottles I have will be pots for basil. Maybe dill as well.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Starting to get a bit chilly. Hasn't been a frost yet, but soon I'm sure. Got me thinking about how things have gone over the past four years, and what I've learned in the process. And of course a bit of planning for next year.

The first gardening season in our place. Didn't go too nuts, just built a couple raised beds out back and planted some tomatoes and zucchini.

Raised beds, 2008
What did well
  • Rutgers tomatoes
  • Zucchini
What I learned
  • I needed more space
  • Zucchini are awesome, and I don't tire of it easily
It was as if the gardening gods decided to let me have a good year to get me hooked. I assumed things would only get better. Ha! I tilled up a bit more ground for planting and tried some new veggies. 

New plot, 2009
Beans, 2009
Tomatoes, 2009
What did well
  • Green beans, but I didn't plant many
What did poorly
  • Tomatoes, deer ate most of them
  • Zucchini, well, maybe not poorly, but squash borers did a number on them
  • Eggplant, ended up with less than 1 per plant
What I learned
  • I need to keep the deer out!
  • I need to do something about squash borers
This year inspired me to try growing tomatoes in the basement (and start this blog). That wasn't very successful either. But it was fun.

The year the fence went up. Definitely the biggest change to the backyard. And it did keep out the deer. But I was introduced to a new enemy - the squirrels.

The fence, 2010
Peppers, 2010
Different tomato varieties, 2010
Butternut Squash, 2010
Anti-squirrel cage, 2010
What did well
  • Butternut Squash
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
What did poorly
  • Tomatoes, due to the squirrel invasion
  • Zucchini, due to the borers
  • Corn, due to various wildlife
What I learned
  • Squirrels eat tomatoes, the only reliable defense is a chicken wire cage
  • Same for corn
  • Barley is too much of a hassle
  • Upside down tomatoes only did so-so
Didn't really feel like a spectacular year, although we did ok. 

Cherry tomatoes, 2011
Weird pepper crosses, 2011
Basil, 2011
What did well
  • Basil
  • Garlic, although the cloves were small
  • Tomatoes did better than the last few years
  • Few pumpkins out back, 10 small pumpkins from a random pumpkin plant that sprang up out front
  • Ping Tung Long Eggplants, restoring my faith in eggplant!
What did poorly
  • Zucchini, hardly got any
  • Green beans, mostly due to my neglect
  • Peppers were a big mess, most of the seeds I had didn't even sprout. Others were not what I expected
What I learned
  • Buy pepper seeds from a catalog!
  • Set up cage next year for tomatoes and corn
  • Basil does great and doesn't need much space, plant in small pots next year
  • Cherry tomatoes, particularly Sun Gold for the front porch next year
  • I need to plant more dill for pickles
  • Plant garlic a bit earlier