Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Garden Update #28

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Garden Update #28

Before I get started with this week's garden update, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind wishes for Brett and I's anniversary. We had a great day yesterday - a great long weekend in fact. It was probably the best anniversary we have spent together thus far and it was so simple. We did a few chores, went to "our" Mexican restaurant for lunch, got coffee from a local coffee shop, and then came home and played video games together. (And on top of that, we won our second fantasy football game - we beat a team called "The Beefeaters" - take that from a vegetarian girl!) It was perfect and perfectly "us", which is how you are supposed to spend your anniversaries any way, isn't it? Brett is an amazing man, and I am lucky and honored to have gotten to spend the last six years with him. He has made me happier and a better person. Here is to many, many more years! I love you Brett!

Enough of the sap, on to the garden update!

There has been quite a bit of progress in the container garden this week. The cayenne plant is coming on strong, and things are ripening up nicely. We didn't have any real garden work to do this weekend - well actually we did, but we didn't have time to get to it, those chores will be the topic of next week's garden update, but we did come up with some plans for the container garden next year.

After talking with Linda (Brett's mom) about her garden this year and the production of her pepper plants, it got Brett and I to thinking about our container garden. After a little discussion we determined our pepper plants, while some of them did alright, would have done better in larger pots. This is especially the case with the bell and poblano pepper plants, but all of them could stand to be in larger pots. Pepper plants can get far larger than ours did, and even have hundreds of peppers on them at points in their development. I don't, in any way, want to discontinue our container gardening efforts, even if the pepper plants would do better in the ground. When you live in an apartment, soil is a valued commodity, and since you can successfully grow peppers in containers, we would like to figure out how to do it better, rather than using our entire community garden plot for peppers.

So what we are thinking is that we will use larger pots next year - pots similar in size to the one the One Ball squash are in (see below) - 10-12 inch pots. Now, this will limit the number of plants we can grow on our porch to an extent, but we've already been thinking about that too. Since we are going to be growing in larger containers, the idea is that the plants will get larger, and thus produce more. So the peppers we were planning on having 4 plants of we will cut to 2. The "random fun" peppers we want to try our hand at growing - such as the Peruvian yellow or Fish peppers - will be grown in the small 8 inch pots since a high level of production isn't necessarily important to us with these other peppers.

I actually got some fairly decent container garden pictures this week. No group photos this time though as we have them clumped oddly around our deck so they can get as much sunlight as possible - now that the sun is coming in more on our deck.

Check 'em out this week:

Some newbie cayenne peppers. I believe we counted 10 on the plant.

A couple of little banana peppers.

Another banana pepper, but much larger.

A couple of hot Hungarian Wax peppers, the big one is finally ripening!

Little jalapenos! We really hope these make it to full size. If they get large enough, we can bring them inside in the event of a frost.

A couple of ripe petite bell peppers. These are larger than many of the petite bells have been.

One of the poblano peppers, still moving along! I love their saturated, deep green color.

The New Mexican Chile, ripening from the bottom up!

A couple of pictures of the peppers on the second year serrano.

Moving on to the indoor winter garden.

As has been the trend, things are slow going, but at this point, everybody is progressing. That is always a good thing. After talking to our farmer, Dan, this weekend at the market, we are really confident that our greens and herbs will do fine in our apartment. We are still tentatively hopeful that the others will survive and fruit, but it really just all depends. It is possible but we may need grow lights and heat systems and things we are unwilling to invest in so that we can grow these things in our apartment.

A little aside, but related to Dan, and something I forgot to mention in the weekly local booty update is that Dan is thinking of getting a winter CSA going sometime soon. Wahoo! The shares would include microgreens, onions, some herbs, eggs (if desired), and possibly some other goodies - both Brett and I were very stoked to hear this and hope it takes off soon. How cool would it be to be signing up for a winter CSA around this time next year?

Check out the indoor winter garden goodies:

A couple of pictures of the catnip - still in the hothouse. I posted the two as I thought the second gave a good indication as to how tall a couple of the starts have gotten. My method of draping the really long start seems to have worked - kind of - it is growing upwards now, but not straight. I guess you win some, you lose some, so long as it is still alive and growing, I really don't care.

Here is a picture of our sweet basil. It is growing slowly, but strongly. The little leaves are deep green, thick, and ripply. Wahoo! I am hoping there is much basil in our winter future and beyond!

Here is the pepper colony. It might not look much different, but they are growing - albeit slowly.

Our two cayenne pepper starts. They've probably each grown an inch or two since being transplanted. They are looking nice!

Our two jalapeno starts. Again, the top one, while droopy, is still hanging on. The leaves just won't perk back up. I'm not sure what that means for the plant in the end.

Here are the One Ball squash. They are growing and trying to make their way to the light - their color is still very deep green and the plants still have their rigidity. The leaves that are not big or tall enough to have "crested" the pot are dying - as expected, since they aren't receiving any light.

Here is Nermal sleeping in front of the tomatillo plants. The towel was on the Hammond bench as a way of protecting it when there were plants sitting on it, but Nermal likes to lay on it and since she is cute, she gets her way. Isn't she cute when she sleeps?

And finally, here is a picture of the tomatillos sans Nermal. As you can see, Brett's "staking job" worked really well. Far better than either of us had imagined actually. The plants are not only getting more rigid and attempting to stand up on their own, but they've also grown at least 2 inches this week. I'm guessing they like their new digs.

If any of you are wondering about the cherry bomb peppers (as I know so many of you are), they are fine, I just forgot to snap a picture of them. When I was in the computer room doing my photographing, I noticed they needed water. Well, I made sure to water them and then forgot to photograph them. Go figure.

They are actually in need of being transplanted at this point too, so we will probably take care of that one day this week or over the weekend.

We have some "choreage" to do in the garden next week, so I am going to end this garden update with a list of the activities that will need to be accomplished before next week's garden update - for the sake of your amusement and my poor memory. :-)

Seeds to start:
  • catnip
  • chard
  • cilantro
  • kale
  • mini bell peppers

Need to transplant:

  • cherry bomb peppers - will try to get two transplanted

Other chores:

  • weed around the tomatoes and peppers in the community garden
  • stake up "mystery" tomato plant

Now that we got rid of the tomato horn worms, the mystery tomato plant doesn't look so yucky. It has at least half a dozen tomatoes on it, the Roma has about the same, and the Better Boy, while it doesn't have as many, has a few fruits on it as well. We will either have late season tomatoes, or fried green tomatoes. If the tomatoes beat the frost, we will let them ripen on the vine or in our window sill, if there is a frost expected before they are mature, we will pick them and use them green. Either way, I see some tomatoes in our future. Wahoo!

Well you all might be lucky and get some posts by Brett this week. Things are going to be quite busy for me at work and oftentimes when I get home, I want to be lazy, but I will, I repeat, I will, catch up on my food posts eventually.

And it seemed like a lot of folks either missed or skipped over the October introduction of the Unplug Yourself initiative that Brett put up last week. If you are still interested in participating, or have questions, comments, or suggestions, please read and respond to his post, which can be found here.

'Til next time.


Courtney said...

I am happy to hear that the two of you had a nice anniversary! It sounds like you had the perfect day :o)

Your peppers look great! And your cat is too is almost like he is guarding the plants!


VeggieGirl said...

Hooray for a lovely anniversary celebration, and for still having a lovely garden :0)

Bianca said...

Oh, I missed your anniversary somehow! Happy Belated Anniversary! If you're still happy after 6 years, you guys are meant to be.

Daphne said...

Happy Anniversary.

Rural Vegan said...

Happy anniversary to you and Brett! Glad you had a great time celebrating. I'm impressed that you still have peppers going strong, everything has already died here. Again, I will live vicariously through your garden!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Courtney - Thank you very much. We did.

Thank you. Yeah, she is a sweetie. I think she was guarding that towel so I didn't try to take it away from her. ;-)

Veggie Girl - I'll second that!

Bianca - Don't worry about it - it's only really important that we remember it anyway - and if we BOTH forget, no biggie either. :-)

Thank you. Haha, if he can still put up with me and I can still put up with him and we still like each other - I'd say yeah, we're doing alright. :-)

Daphne - Thank you!

Rural Vegan - Thank you. We did indeed.

The container garden has been doing quite well. I just hope that the peppers on there survive to maturity. The forecast for the next week doesn't like too bad though.

All the rain we've had though has really done a number on most gardens in the ground. Our community garden plot died out earlier than we would have liked, but what can you do? Our container plants are shielded - at least to an extent - from all the rain.

Hope things start looking up in your neck of the woods soon. I was really happy you posted, I was worried you had abandoned your blog!

jessy said...

Nermal is super cute! sleepy kitties are the best! i also love when they wake up and yawn realy big! awwwwwwwww, kitties! i really love how that one hungarian wax pepper is ripening all rainbow like - made me smile! and your tomatillos are growing strong! yay! sounds like you guys have a lot of work to do this weekend with planting and transplanting and such - it should be fun though! don't you just love gardening!?! w00t!

man, a winter CSA would be just about the best thing ever! microgreens are my absolute fav! mmmmmmmm! i need to see if i can start growing some. i wonder if they'll grow inside. hmmmmmmmmmm!
late season tomatoes would be really awesome! or even green tomatoes - i love fried green tomatoes.

hoooooooooooray for an awesome anniversary! that rocks so hard!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Jessy - I agree Nermal is cute and I love me some sleepy kitties. They yawns are too cute as well. Aw, furry critters. :-)

I like that Hungarian Wax too. I like how it is ripening from the bottom up - it looks neat. Yeah, it is a bit of work, hopefully we can get some of it done tomorrow. And due to space constraints in our cooler, we might not be able to get all of it done, but we'll do the best we can. And I definitely do love working in the garden.

I KNOW! Microgreens seriously rock and local ones in the dead of winter? Yes please! I bet you can grow them inside. I had a hunch and after talking to our farmer, Dan, he thought they would do fine indoors too.

I agree. We are going to have to keep a close eye on the temperatures to make sure it isn't supposed to freeze - if it is, we'll have to go get 'em, ripe or not. I may have to solicit a fried green tomato recipe from you!

Thank you it does rock pretty hard. And Brett rocks DAMN hard. :-)