I love this time of year! I love fresh home grown tomatoes, peppers, blackberries, and more. We are getting all of those from our garden and more. I am very grateful for this abundance, which is better than just calories to sustain us. It is healthy, nutritious, and tasty food that keeps us healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
A few weeks ago we harvested the last of our potatoes. We harvested potatoes 5 different times and got a good amount with each harvest. We grew potatoes in 2 grow bags, and then in 3 rows in a 5’x5’ raised bed. This last batch was Kennebeck potatoes, and we made fries to share at Liliana’s birthday party and we also made some potato chips, which were great! My daughter Maria said they tasted just like the potato chips they serve at Panera, which I’ll take as a compliment (although I think mine were better).
We’ve been getting tomatoes on and off, not one huge harvest, but some here and there. Mostly they have been the cherry baby and early treat that we were selling in the spring. We haven’t got one of the beefsteaks yet, but there are a few on the plant. We’re doing a couple things to keep the deer off of the tomatoes this year. We are growing a couple plants in the greenhouse. The door is open, or else they would roast, but they have not been bothered. I don’t think the deer will risk going into a confined space like that. I also have some tomatoes in the ground and I wrapped those plants with bird netting. So far it has worked. A determined deer could probably tear the netting off, but perhaps with ample food around this time of year they won’t want the trouble.
As far as peppers go, we’ve got many, many pods on the plants, but they are taking so long to ripen. We’ve harvested a few peppers, Jalapenos mostly, that have all been green still. For whatever reason our peppers are moving along slowly. My neighbors who got plants from me are all getting ripe pods already. I only kept one Carolina Reaper plant, and right now it has a ton of flowers, but zero pods so far. Two neighbors that got plants from me have green Reapers already. Oh well, gardening is a hobby for the patient. All of my plants are large and vigorous and, with the exception of the Carolina Reaper, they are all loaded with fruit. I’m really looking forward to making some hot sauces, and eventually recording myself eating a Carolina Reaper (though I will probably regret that).
Things are quiet with the nursery business right now. I am propagating things from cuttings to overwinter and have for our spring sale. I am also buying some seeds for next year. I found a great local vendor of pepper seeds, Jimmy Pickles Product Line, and have already bought some interesting pepper seeds for next year (I bought Aji Chombos from Panama, white ghost peppers, and more). I do a lot of seed ordering over the winter when I’m not in the garden as much but still thinking about it. I plan on growing more varieties of peppers for 2022, and more rare varieties. In 2021 we grew 8 varieties, 6 for sale. I hope to maybe double that next year. We are adding propagation capacity and peppers are a favorite of mine. We will keep you posted on what will be available for the 2022 season.
Another thing we did was add a South Hills Gardening Resource Directory to our website. My aim is to create a comprehensive resource for gardeners in the South Hills that lists all of the pertinent data they need, lists local businesses related to gardening, and just basically compiles everything someone would need in one place. If you know of a resource this list lacks, please let me know and I will add it. If you own a business that should be in this directory, let me know. The page is also available in Spanish. One of our main goals is to help gardeners in the South Hills thrive, and I hope having a directory like this will be useful.
We are going away for a few days, but when we come back I’m going to start constructing some more propagation beds. I will add pics once the beds are constructed. These beds will be for propagating shrubs and perennials. I also plan on starting our fall crops like cilantro and lettuce. I’m not starting them in any quantity though, so no plant sales.
That’s what’s happening in the garden and in the nursery. What’s going on in your garden? Any big successes this year? Any big failures? Let me know in the comments below!