Saturday, August 29

Late August Harvest

Peppers. I've never had good luck with bell peppers, at most getting two or three anemic specimens off any plant, never more than 4 inches long or even approaching a poor farmer's market pepper. So what is going on this year? My plants are having a wonderfully productive year. This afternoon in the gloomy 60-degree, overcast, misty weather, ten bell peppers were harvested, and another 7 or 8 'sweet banana' peppers. The bell peppers rival supermarket, and are "Big Bertha" and another cultivar I forget, I think "California Wonder", since I recall best success with those in the past.

So what is different this year?
  • Cooler than normal summer temperatures
  • Hardly watered the garden at all - relied mostly upon rain
  • Fertilized with an organic dilution twice (June and July)
  • Let the weeds overrun the bell peppers until July, when I cleared them all out & mulched in with grass clippings.
None of this neglect should explain the better harvest. Perhaps the new fertilizer combined with my typical topdressing of compost had greater benefits than expected.
You can see part of the rest of today's harvest in the photo - a handful of beans, I'm starting to let some dry for seed storage next year. The carrots (orange and purple) are very good, (Navarino, Purple Rain, and Hercules). The tomatoes are Roma and Salad tomatoes (Oxheart, San Marzano), with a few Jelly Bean cherry tomatoes thrown in there. The plants are very thick with foliage, and I'll need to prune some leaves to make harvest easier - or just give up and let the fruit rot.

I expect to be extremely busy within the next two weeks, conveniently coinciding with the tomatoes finally ripening - not a single beefsteak (Early Girl or Ace 55) has ripened to edible yet. Perhaps I'll have a 'pick your own tomato' party for neighbors and friends. The quantity of green fruit is ridiculus, and I had been hoping it would ripen sooner allowing me to process sauce and can it for the winter. Backup plans might include just peeling and freezing whole tomatoes for processing later this year.

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