Peppers! So many flavors, colors, sweet, mild, hot and………WOW give me some milk fast HOT! I grow them all. Peppers are warm weather lovers. Although, over 90 degrees for extended periods they stop producing fruit. I start planting peppers starts in my garden around the first of May. Any earlier they don’t grow and the spring winds we get howling through the garden, they seem to suffer and get torn up. If I do get the urge to plant sooner I do cover them with row cover. My peppers usually get popped into a spot where lettuce was grown for early spring harvest and is then cleared out. I work the soil and add 4″ of compost. Ahh, compost! My peppers receive full sun until around 5 pm. It gets hot here and I have to protect the fruit with floating row cover from sunburn. Peppers with sunburn get a leathery, sunken look on the top and south side of the pepper where the sun hits it the most during hot days. Space peppers 12 inches apart. This close planting helps the plants shade their own fruit from sunburn. When planting, I will add a tablespoon of all-purpose fertilizer (well-balanced) in each hole and mix it up a little with the existing soil and pop the pepper plant in covering the roots ball, but not firmly. Water deeply and don’t let the soil dry out. I start to mulch mine when the mercury rises. This helps retain water and keep the roots cooler. I fertilize every three weeks until mid-fall. When harvesting your peppers cut off the fruit rather than tug and pull. The plants are brittle and you don’t want to pull on a pepper and end up with half of the plant in your hand. Peppers don’t like to be planted with onions. It seems to stunt them. Try some new varieties this year and surprise yourself. Ancho and Anaheim for roasting, little sweet stuffing peppers with a little bit of cheese on the grill, jalapeno for mango salsa, cayenne for making your own cayenne pepper. What ever peppers you choose find new ways to serve them, because there are so many. Why get stuck in a rut!
Summer Bell Salad
- 1 large red bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 large yellow bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 large green bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
- 6 green onions, minced
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans coarsely chopped
- Mix everything in a large bowl and toss with dressing
Dressing for Bell Salad
- 1/8 cup raspberry vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Dash of pepper
- Combine all ingredients until blended and pour over bell salad
I have mentioned before that our little farm all started with the three chicks my husband brought home. There were two Rhode Island hens and an Araucana. The first egg we ever got was from the Araucana. I thought someone put … Continue reading
In nature, where plants grow without the ground being worked, there is always a mixture of plant types growing in an area that are happy in there habitat. The type of plants living in an area depends on the soil type and climatic conditions . Most plants that grow together in the wild are mutually beneficial in that they allow for maximum light utilization, moisture and soil conditions. This is what we call companion planting. Plants have a beneficial effect on different garden plants because of some peculiar characteristic of their growth, scent, or root formation and soil demands. Some plants that have strong orders, including those with aromatic oils, play a role in determining just which insects visit the garden. While some plants repel, they can also hinder the growth rate of other plants or otherwise adversely affect them. I have seen good results and not so good. Yes, tomatoes like carrots, but you do sacrifice a little bit in the size of your carrots due to the shading that tomatoes cause. I don’t mind because I like tomatoes more and I like baby carrots better! I have listed some things that grow well together.
- Basil: Tomatoes (improves growth and flavor)
- Bean: Potatoes, carrots, cucumber, summer savory
- Beets: Onions, kohlrabi
- Borage: Tomatoes (improves flavor & growth, deters tomato worm, attracts bees) squash, strawberries
- Carrots: Peas, lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, rosemary, sage, tomatoes
- Chive: Radishes
- Chervil: Radishes (improves growth & flavor)
- Dill: Cabbage (improves growth & health), carrots
- Flax: Carrots & potatoes
- Fennel: Most plants seem to dislike it.
- Garlic: Roses & raspberries (deters Japanese beetle), plant liberally throughout garden to deter pests
- Horseradish: Potatoes (deters potato beetle)
- Hyssop: Cabbage (deters cabbage moths) grapes
- Lemon Balm: Here and there in the garden
- Marigold: Keeps soil free of nematodes, discourages many insects. Plant freely in the garden.
- Pea: Squash
- Petunia: Protects beans, beneficial throughout the garden
- Nasturtium: Deters aphids
- Rosemary: Carrots, beans, cabbage, sage
- Summer Savory: Beans, onions, deters bean beetles
- Tansy: Plant under fruit trees, deters ants squash bugs
- Thyme: Plant throughout the garden
- Wormwood: As a border, keeps animals out of the garden
- Yarrow: Plant along borders, near paths, enhances essential oils in production of herbs.
Not only do these plants improve the growing, flavor and overall health, they also give your garden interest and character. Don’t forget to add to your garden journal which plants thrived and which, not so much.
Even here where the temperatures reach above 100 degrees for more than three months and winter months dropping in the teens, these succulents grow and spread across the bench cheering up a blank space in a corner of the yard. Simply cover the seat of the bench and up the back a ways in burlap and then a layer of thick weed mat. Burlap is more appealing to look at then the weed mat, so that is the only reason for using it. Use a good potting soil to fill in the seat and up the back and start planting your favorite succulents. They will fill in with time but for an instant look plant thickly. Tuck the burlap in and around the plants to cover any potting soil and weed mat. Water in! I only water about 2 to 3 times a week here in the desert and no water during the winter unless we have had a complete drought. Use Hen and Chicks, Dragons Blood Sedums, Stonecrop and anything available. Once they start to crowd out, thin out and share with a friend for their new bench.