A Tale of Two Pepper Plots

I think I have mentioned before my red and poblano pepper plants have no blossoms. I did some research and I think I have arrived at some conclusions.

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Yellow Peppers
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Marconi Red Peppers

In this article, it mentions a few things that can cause blossoms to fall from pepper plants. One is high heat. We have just gone through a big bout of high 90 deg days, and so for a while, I thought that was the case. I have one poblano, so I was thinking it must have gotten set right before the heat. But if you look at my yellow peppers, you can see many peppers developing – during the high heat. And the yellows were started about 4 weeks after the reds/poblanos, and are probably about 2′ high.

Then it hit me Saturday – my reds and poblanos are by the corn. I fed the corn nitrogen (blood meal) right as it was starting to tassel. I think I also fed the peppers nitrogen. I mean, it can only help, right?!

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Tiny buds on the Marconi Red Peppers
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Marconi Red Pepper blossom

Wrong. Another thing that can cause blossoms to fall off is excess nitrogen. It uses the nitrogen to grow the plants stems and leaves at the expense of blossoms. To counter this, I added phosphorus (bone meal), so hopefully that will help the plants to shift to fruit production. There are a few blossom buds forming, as well as one bona fide blossom, so now that the plants are large, hopefully they will produce a lot!

I am continually amazed how much knowledge it takes to garden – to garden well, that is. In the future, I will stick to a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer for peppers.

Onion and Garlic Harvest

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Yellow and Red Onions Harvested

In my onion bed, most of the leaves were drooping and that is a sign they need to be harvested. I think I know why – the stalks start to die, and if left in the ground, will start to rot and that will rot the whole onion. Why do I think this? Because I found rotten onions. So I pulled them and was going to dry in the bed, but rain came and I moved them all to my garage. Some are medium-sized, some are small, which is a little discouraging. But my brother mentioned just roasting them whole, which sounds good. Right now, they need to dry for 2-4 weeks, if I want to store them long-term. I also do not think I added enough bone meal, which helps bulb produce

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German hard-necked garlic
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Seed-heads of the garlic

I have been waiting patiently for the tell-tale signs of garlic ready for harvest – the bottom two leaves to brown while the tops stay green. Saturday looked like the day, it was relatively dry with rain to come. I got out the fork and started to lift them up, when I noticed that the garlic had started to bolt! I had been staring so hard at the bottom leaves, I had forgotten about the top! Either that, or they had just started to bolt, which I think is the case. We got a lot of rain this past week and that probably stimulated them. They tops are actually quite fascinating. The top looks like a little head of garlic, with small bulbs exposed. I tore one off and tasted it and it was spicy garlic! Right now they are getting the same treatment – drying in the garage.

“Stuff That Is Growing” Update

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Spaghetti Squash in the Front garden

So far, I have only see spaghetti squash growing, and some now look as large as you would find a the super market. Time to either eat them or learn to store them correctly – or both. I also noticed that I have acorn squash growing on some of the vines. It is very interesting – the spaghetti squash seem to be more spread out along the vine. The picture shown is not typical of what I am seeing. I see only one or two per vine.

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Acorn Squash in the Front garden

For the acorn squash, I am seeing four in a row on two separate vines. Maybe  the heat affected the spaghetti squash blossoms, and now that it is cooler, they will produce more. I am not sure. These plants are out front, and have been the most active. The vines I have in the east garden are not doing that well. There is one good fruit, one that looks speckled dark gray and, well, weird. It looks more like a tear drop shaped summer squash. I don’t think it is getting enough sun.

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Sweet Potatoes in the West garden. Yellow Peppers in behind.

The sweet potatoes have essentially taken over the bed they are in. The large green area is 12 slips of beauregard sweet potato, and the few that you see at the end of the bed are 5 slips of purple sweet potato. I am not too happy with the vendor I got these from. The slips did not ship until mid-June, right in the middle of the heat wave, shipped postal in a box wrapped in some soil. In May, this was ok for the beauregards, but not in the heat of June. Of the 12 purples I ordered, only 5 survived.

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Light and Dark Green Long Beans

The long beans are going crazy, and here is a shot of them draped down the trellis. They remind me of that BBC April fools joke on the “spaghetti harvest” in the 1940-50’s. I am going to grow these every year, with the addition of a red long bean next year.

Weekend Harvest

No week seems complete without a few pictures of what I was able to harvest this weekend. All the hard work is paying off, and we are definitely both eating great and learning to store the bounty!

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Heirloom Tomatoes Harvest July 4th
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Cucumbers, Long Beans and Carrots Harvested July 4th

 

 

 

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