Sunday, December 11, 2016

Last of the Peppers

I had put posts at the corners of my pepper-n-eggplant bed, with floating row cover over the top, to extend the gardening season.  While I only got a couple of eggplants, which are much more cold-sensitive, I got over a gallon of peppers today!

This was the last harvest-- I pulled the plants, and put cocoa shell mulch down over the beds.  The dark brown areas are where I mulched earlier in the year.  Rain darkens the shells to a deep brown.  Note the enthusiastic growth of the volunteer ground cherry at the edge of the pepper bed-- I had cut it back to the ground about 6 weeks ago, and it's come roaring back.  It's much healthier and happier than the one I have in a pot, I think I'll keep it.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Last Few Harvests

It's gotten to be Fall, and Winter is just around the corner.  I've managed to bring in a few more colanders of tomatoes and peppers over the past few weeks.   I covered my pepper and eggplant bed with some floating row cover in the hopes of coaxing one more pepper crop out of it, but the cover has partly blown off even though I keep clipping it back onto the poles.  Oh well.  Some things work, some don't.

I got a surprisingly good harvest from my volunteer Peruvian Ground Cherry.  I had to take it down because it was taking over the pepper and herb beds with its shade, but I got about a quart and a half of fruit from it.  Also called Poha Berry, the husked fruit has a sweet-tart tropical taste and makes a great sauce for fish or an unusual salsa.  I take it out of the husks and freeze the berries.  They are slightly waxy to the touch, and freeze well.  

I grew one of them in a pot this year, and it's quite a large plant-- I'm going to try to keep it going through the winter, though I may plant it into a half wine barrel for longer term growth.  We've had them overwinter in the ground as perennials, and get unmanageably large-- I'd like to have one around but don't want to sacrifice 9 - 16 square feet to the huge bush it becomes.  We'll see if this works out.

I've had a fabulous year with peppers, and a good eggplant year.  The yellow bell pepper plant was incredibly prolific, so much so that I had to harvest peppers early from it to keep branches from breaking.   I was using the v-shaped eggplant/pepper ladders from Gardeners' Supply for the first time this year, and had mixed results.  I had several branches of both eggplant and pepper break off due to heavy fruit loading.  The open side of the v has no support, so it's necessary to use twine to tie off to the frame and support vulnerable branches, which I realized only after a few losses.