June 28, 2005

First Pepper Harvest

I was making Spicy Orange Beef for dinner tonight and the recipe calls for a bell pepper. Aha, I thought. It is time to pluck the first of my bell pepper beauties from the garden and use it in the recipe. I surveyed the various pods ripening out on the plants and decided to harvest the purple beauty pepper.

It was a lovely purple color on the outside, but the flesh was still green when I cut it. Therefore, the pepper was not very sweet in the dish. However, I am pleased enough with the acquisition and look forward to more of these peppers in the future. It is still rather early in the season for harvesting, but I think that within another two weeks or so, I'm going to start having a bumper crop of sweet peppers and hot chiles.

June 22, 2005

Connecting a Timer to the Soaker Hose System

Connecting a timer to your soaker hose system should not be a problem. However, I'm just one woman. First, I had to have my husband remove the soaker hose from the facet since I was not strong enough to do so. Then hooking the timer to the hose and the facet proved to be a challenge that was only solved by a stern twist of a pair of pilars. However, after being sprayed with water a few times, I finally got the timer set to water my pepper bed once a day for 30 minutes. Fortunately, the battery that I had placed in it last year is still working.

Above is a general photo of my full pepper bed with all of this year's peppers planted and caged. There is wonderful growth on my fresno peppers, they must have grown a few inches this week alone. I credit the hot summer days and the bright sunlight. The peppers love that sort of thing as much as my roses!

June 21, 2005

Caging the Peppers

Finally having a day off from work, I decided to put in a little work into my pepper garden this morning. First, I went down the row and weeded all the grass and vines that had sprung up. There wasn't much, but it needs to be done. While I did remove weeds from the cinderblocks, I decided to not weed the gravel path today. Next I planted the Red Beauty Bell that I picked up at Roger's Gardens last week at the end of the row.

Once the new pepper was planted, I used the soaker hose system to water the bed and used my watering can to make sure the new pepper got additional water to reduce transplant shock. Many of my peppers are starting to produce pods. The above photo is of my gypsy pepper and yellow bell. This is my first time of growing both varieties. I hear the gypsy is a good frying pepper. It seems to be producing many pods even this early in the season. The yellow bell pod is getting large and seems crisp and firm. It is still green, so I'm waiting to see what the final color will be.

Once everything was watered, I took out a few of my old tomato cages and put them around the bell pepper plants. I probably should have done this earlier, but the plants are still small enough to put in the cages. I'm not sure if they will provide enough support since I had toppling problems with them last year, but it is what I have on hand so they will have to do.

I got an email from the Chile Woman this morning concerning my order of pepper plants. Since the second box she sent never arrived, we both agreed that sending a third box would not be a good idea. She is going to send me a refund for the plants and investigate alternative shipping methods to my area. Obviously, there is something wrong with FedEx sending here when it comes to live plants! I am very disappointed by the loss of the plants, but it is simply too late in the growing season to attempt seedlings. What I have is going to have to do for this year.

June 17, 2005

Plant Box Arrives

The box of pepper plants that I had ordered last May magically appeared on my doorstep. No signature was required this time...and I don't even know if FedEx delivered it or not. The box had been opened and then taped shut with the words "Not for Landis" written in black marker over the top. The box was very beat up as if it had been smashed in a few times.

When I opened the box, there was a bit of dust, the invoice, six plastic pots...and otherwise an empty box. I think that whoever had taken my box must have stolen the plants and then waited a long time for FedEx to pick up the box for redelivery...or more likely, walked the box to my porch since they knew that I wasn't home. The stinking thevies.

I am very disheartened over ordering plants via the mail. I've asked for my money back and I don't think that I will ever buy a plant in this manner again.

June 11, 2005

New Pepper Plants

Since the peppers that I ordered from the chile woman never arrived, I am faced with the fact that I have additional pepper space available in my garden and no peppers for it. I drove back to Roger's Gardens on the off chance that they would have pepper plants even this late in the season.

I was delighted to discover that they had one "cherry bomb" plant left!!! I also bought a sweet japanese pepper and a "red beauty" bell pepper. I understand that the red beauties are very, very sweet and with large pods. A good replacement for the blushing beauty I was not able to locate this year. I am debating if I will replace the california wonder pepper that hasn't set any fruit as yet...and was never a favorite choice of bell in the first place, or just put the red beauty at the end of the bed where my chile woman peppers were supposed to go since I do have the space available.

More of my pepper plants are starting to set fruit. The gypsy bells are forming, the purple beauty bell, and my fresnos. The rest are still growing and looking healthy, just no pods as yet. It is going to be interesting to see what my garden produces this year. So far, I am pleased with the spacing and how my plants are staying upright without staking.

June 04, 2005

Weeding the Pepper Bed

Weeding is not something that I take a great deal of joy in, but then I imagine that most people find it tedious. Still, it needs to be done from time to time. I put in around 10 minutes pulling all the seedling vines and grasses that have sprouted up in my pepper bed over the past month or two. It is now clear. More of my pepper plants are forming pods. It is nice to see that they are all doing well, even the little Tepin Chile that I was so worried about.

Easy weeding is one of the best things about square foot gardening. Since the beds are raised and contained, weeds tend to not get a foot hold in your soil and when a few do, they are very easy to remove. Mel Barthlomew recommends weeding once a week, but I find that I generally only have to do it once a month and then it is a simple task of minutes.

There is still no sign of the pepper plants that I had ordered from the Chile Woman. I spoke with the owner of my mail box provider yesterday. He is aware that live plants are being shipped and he has placed my number inside my box as a reminder to call me once they arrive. He assures me that FedEx knows HIS address and won't mistakenly deliver my plants to a stranger. I just hope that they make it. I have no idea when they were shipped or how long the transit time is going to take. All I can do is wait.

June 02, 2005

Still No Chile Plants in Sight

I heard back from the Chile Woman about my missing plants. It seems that FedEx did deliver my box of plants and it was signed for...but it was delivered to the wrong house. So basically, some stranger signed for my package and then took off with it. I have no idea who the culprit was, but I'm very angry over this. My house is clearly marked with its number. There is no reason for them to be dropping off packages "with the neighbors".

Unfortunately, many of the peppers that I ordered are no longer available for reshipment...whenever the reshipment is. I'm growing a bit depressed over the whole situation. I'd been so looking forward to trying these new chiles I've been hearing about, but I missed out on them all the way across the board at several nurseries, the arboretum and now my last chance, the mail order company. I'm thinking about making another run to my local Armstrong nursery. I don't have much hope in finding anything this late in the game, but I would love to have cherry bombs in my garden if I can find them.

Next year, I don't think that I can rely on finding plants. I will have to start seeds and get my plants that way. I'm not going to go through all this again.