Peppers

There's just no in-Between

Every year I plant two eggplant plants and harvest 1-3 eggplants. This year I planted three eggplant plants, and flanked them with jalapeno pepper and serrano pepper plants, because I read it's good for their root systems.

I don't know if that's why, but this year so far I've picked a dozen (well, 6 today, so actually about 15) eggplants, there are 15 more still growing, and my boys don't even like eggplant. I am going to make melanzane parmigiana (my mother would pronounce that meelannjohnny,) though, and make them eat it. I'll cook sausage with it. I am aware this is Japanese eggplant rather than Italian, but so what? (What is that it is a little sweeter and requires less drawing out of water.)

I have pretty much gotten the knack of growing only as much zucchini as I can use, but with the eggplants, I'm not certain I can hit the middle ground target. Next year I'll just grow two, though, and still with hot peppers. 

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Wrapping up the garden on the last warm day for now...

I rarely used this blog page this summer because it was a very odd and disappointing garden season. I understand this was so for many people. My soil isn't tired, the weather was a little strange, but not terribly so. I don't know. Next year I am planting more varieties of flowers among the vegetables to see if that will help. The flower gardens were actually pretty great this year.

But you see, then in early September, everything took off. If summer began then, I'd have had a normal tomato and pepper crop, and probably more other things, as well. Because of course, there's only so much to be expected from autumn tomatoes and peppers. I've had more in the past month than all summer long, but not like it could have been had they gotten going two months earlier. Of course, the leeks and chard grew like mad this whole time; if you can't get those to grow and produce, you have to choose a new hobby.
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The photos here are from one of the garden patches and a few things on the deck.

The two pumpkin vines grew and grew, produced two fruits, and one survived. It dropped off the vine in early September, though, with a diameter about half normal size for its variety. Only a couple summer squashes appeared from three plants; none matured. There were three undersized eggplants. Two Brussels sprouts plants grew tremendously, but only one has sprouts on it and they are probably not going to mature. The winter squash had only a few blossoms and no fruit. And the cucumbers had a short early season, not as prolific as last year, but not bad.

Of all the varieties of peppers, I got two-three each until recently. Four of them began producing last month, and I've had several bell peppers and Marconis to enjoy, but I've been picking them under-sized. I don't even remember the pepper variety that is in the bowl with the bells; they aren't full-sized, but also, it's the first I have seen of them all year, and I'd never planted whatever they are before.
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Three strange and sudden occurrences; the tabasco pepper plant began producing about a month ago. Now, that just doesn't like to be too hot, but we really didn't have a huge heat wave this year. There is a second wave of blossoms on it, but later this week they will probably drop off when the nights turn cold. I'll have to pick the peppers undersized and unripened, and drop them in a jar of vinegar.

As well, two tiny mysterious tomato plants appeared among the leeks. It's a mystery because only one of their varieties were planted in that area the year before; the Jetstar, which produced half a dozen tomatoes in the past month, two of which ripened nicely. But also a yellow Brandywine appeared, and though it is tiny (Brandywine plants trend huge,) it produced three beautiful full-sized tomatoes which ripened on the vine, and there are two more still out there.

The Purple Cherokee, Early Girl, and Mister Stripeys all have a couple tomatoes each on them, after producing almost nothing all summer. (Actually, there were a few purples, but a chipmunk kept taking one bite out of each.) I did have quite a few of two varieties of cherry tomatoes to enjoy, but that was all. Today I picked three Early Girls and a Mister Stripey that looked mature enough to ripen on a window sill, and I'll pick the rest as soon as there is a frost advisory.
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Also today as I was clearing away some vines, I found that a small Thai basil plant had grown, apparently from seeding itself last year. That's pretty crazy, man. Growing basil from seed on purpose is hard to do. I think I will pot it and see if I can keep it alive. I potted my Greek Columnar basil already, and I'm pretty sure that will be okay through the winter. It's kind of an amazing variety.
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Marigolds seeded themselves everywhere. That'll probably be fun next Spring.
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Summer days, drifting away...

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What am I going to do with all this Swiss Chard? No one eats it but me!


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These tomatoes (sorry it's unclear) were all picked green two weeks ago, and sat on this table ripening. 


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A few are left in this bowl, but I cut up most of them to roast for soup today, along with a few peppers that were growing soft. I will talk about roast vegetable recipes on the cooking page, today or tomorrow.

 

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Here are more tomatoes I picked last night in advance of the first frost. They will mostly all ripen here over the next couple of weeks.


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And I picked the last of the leeks. There was too much clay where they grew; even though they'll have a new location next year, that area needs more amending before I grow something else there. 


The season is waning...but it's still pretty out there

Yesterday I picked another large bowl of tomatoes. Today, just a few. But more will ripen before the end of the month, that is a certainty! And I'll pick the remaining green ones at the last moment possible, for pie or just to fry with bread crumbs and cheese. 

Today I picked peppers. There are so many out there, but the weather changed swiftly, the nights are cool, and they will not all grow to full size. Part of my corno di toro plant was savaged by yesterday's storm, so I had to pluck three of those early. And the purple bells are ripening before they grow to a good size. Such is nature. 

Todayspicks
Todayspicks

My two green bean plants from spring are still producing a few beans at a time! I might pick a few tomorrow, but I'm letting some of them fatten up so I can keep the seeds. Sadly, the green bean rows on the other side of the yard in the tomato patch have been gotten into again. The netting was open on one side for some reason. They might still be all right, but will need a long warm autumn in order to produce. Nothing else in my garden has been touched by varmints all summer long except in that one spot.

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The one eggplant is coming along well; I can see now it is a globe variety, and I think it can grow for a couple more weeks before I pick it. Also, hilariously, amidst the Swiss chard that exploded in growth over the past few days, there are two heads of red lettuce growing. I'd pulled nearly all of it up at the beginning of July, but I guess I left a little in the ground. :-)

Eggplantteen
Eggplantteen

Finally, I found a couple tromped-on onions. These were planted in bad soil and started growing late. There are six altogether, as I pulled up over a dozen earlier in the season, but I could tell the two on the left in the photo weren't going to get to move on with the class, so I've pulled them up. These, with the broken pepper plant, I see as Nature's way of telling me to make chili today! I'll add onion from the store since they are still such little things. Trompedonion

My next post, probably this weekend but maybe tomorrow, will be about the community garden I happened upon while visiting Southwest Michigan this past weekend. And when growing season draws to a close, I hope to share some ideas about gardening, how-tos and why-fors, especially that last bit, which is dear to my heart.