Pepper Palooza

I had to harvest all of the peppers in the greenhouse due to a major aphid infestation that was affecting the pepper plants but nothing else. I picked a whole bucketful of gorgeous peppers—lots of Anaheim green chiles, poblanos, bell peppers, and gypsy hybrids. These were far and away the largest nicest peppers I have ever grown—and from only 4 plants! I pulled out the plants and disposed of them. I had been spraying the plants and using sticky traps to control the aphids, but nothing was working. I gave up and removed the plants in hopes that the rest of the greenhouse will not be affected.

 

Growth in the Greenhouse 2016

January 19 – Planted potatoes in pots in the greenhouse as an experiment—4 pots of Burbank Russet and 4 pots of Yukon Gem. I had been pre-sprouting them in paper bags in the house since early December. I saved some of the seed potatoes for planting outside later.

January 20, 21 – Sam sprayed the orchard trees with dormant oil. I released another load of ladybugs into the greenhouse.

January 22 – Sam and I moved the small English walnut tree to a new location at the orchard. We put it near the smaller jujube where a small apple used to be because there is more room there and water to the spot. I sprayed the fruit trees at the house with dormant oil.

January 25 – I trimmed all of the lower leaves off of the Brussels sprouts plants in the greenhouse to encourage growth of the sprouts themselves.

February 6 – I planted a new crop of lettuce seeds in a Speedling flat in the greenhouse.

December: Greenhouse Photos

December 5 – Transplanted spinach seedlings into greenhouse bed. Put more seed potatoes (Organic Yukon Gem) into paper bag with bananas to pre­sprout.

December 16 – Today Sam transplanted his lettuce seedlings into the south bed. The broccoli is starting to get heads.

December 17 – Sam and I harvested 2 large grocery bags full of Swiss chard and salad greens to donate to the Verde Valley Senior Center in Cottonwood. The Senior Center serves daily meals Monday through Friday as well as Meals on Wheels. They are always seeking food donations and were very grateful for our fresh produce, particularly now, as the Holidays are extremely busy for them. We plan to continue donating to them when we have extra vegetables.

November: Greenhouse Progress

November 2­ The lettuce seeds in the Speedling Flat are germinating already! Many are coming up.

November 4­ Today I harvested all of the remaining quinces at the orchard. Most of them were huge!

November 7 – I tilled the outdoor garden today and also tilled the main planting bed in the greenhouse again to mix in the manure.

November 8 – I planted yellow and red onion sets today in the outdoor garden—7 rows total.

November 22—Began harvesting lettuce, kale, and spicy greens from the greenhouse.

November 23—Transplanted the lettuce seedlings from the Speedling flat into the garden bed in the greenhouse.

November 24,25 – Planted in the outdoor bed: one pound of Purple Glazer garlic and 3 pounds of California Late White garlic. Put the seed potatoes in paper bags with apples and bananas to pre-sprout. Varieties are Burbank Russet Organic and Organic Rose Finn Fingerling.

Ripening Melons, Pumpkins and Summer Squash

Melons, pumpkins, and winter squash have a particularly difficult time ripening in Flagstaff due to the short growing season.
Here is a tip to help them out: Melons especially, but also squash and pumpkins could ripen two weeks sooner if they are able to ripen off of the ground. This can be accomplished by placing a used can (coffee or soup can, for example) upside down into the soil right beside the fruit in question. Sink the can until about 2 inches of it is sticking up out of the ground. Punch a few holes in the top for drainage. Carefully lift the melon or pumpkin and place it on top of the can. Ready-made platforms are available from Gardener’s Supply and work very well also.

Pumpkin and platform 9-1-15
Give this a try. You will be surprised at how much faster these fruit will ripen.

Pumpkin on platform 9-1-15

Note: photos of pumpkin platforms are from Wes and Susan Lockwood’s garden in Flagstaff, AZ.

Pumpkin Cages

I was becoming frustrated because some “critter” was getting into the raised bed garden at night and eating the pumpkins. I hadn’t seen any tracks, so didn’t know what was having dinner. It was time to do some preventive measures, so after considering several options, including putting boxes, pots, Agribon, or mesh over the pumpkins, I constructed some protective cages from chicken wire in hopes that they would be a durable and effective deterrent.

Here’s how:

supplies for pumpkin cages

Cut about a 3 foot length of chicken wire off the roll. Weave the ends together to form a cylinder. Fold and bend one of the ends together to close this end. Tie with wire to keep this end closed.

forming a cage

Very carefully lift a pumpkin off the ground and ease it into the open end of the wire cylinder. After the pumpkin is safely ensconced, bend the open end wire together around the stem of the pumpkin being careful not to damage the pumpkin nor the stem. Voila! The pumpkin is ostensibly safe.

caged pumpkins - Aug 14 caged - Aug 14 caged pumpkins - Aug 14

So far, no more damage has occurred.

I have also installed a wildlife camera to see who our night-time visitors are.

The Greenhouse

IMG_7709

Today was the first planting in the greenhouse at our new home in Clarkdale, AZ.  The greenhouse has a large raised bed growing area in it that contains fairly decent soil.  I hoed and raked the soil to prepare for planting.  I removed most of a large stand of existing parsley to free up some more planting space leaving 4 existing plants.  I planted onion plants given to us the day before by neighbor Ida and planted the following seeds in the bed:  “Black-Seeded Simpson” lettuce, “Gourmet Blend” lettuce mix, “French Breakfast” radishes, “Bloomsdale Long-Standing” spinach, “Chatenay” carrots, “Super-snappy” peas, “Detroit Dark Red” beets.

Getting ready to plant - Feb 21, 2015I also planted the following seeds in a Speedling seed-starting flat for later transplant:  “California Wonder” peppers, “Carnival Blend” pepper  mix, “Red Brandywine” tomatoes, “Roma” tomatoes, “Super Sweet 100” tomatoes, and “Super Beef” tomatoes.  I also planted the following tomato plants that I purchased at Home Depot in self-watering containers:  “Better Bush,” “Heat Wave,” “Cherokee Purple,” “San Marzano,” “Better Boy,” and “Celebrity.”  I also planted 5 “Celebrity” tomato plants in the bed. I watered everything thoroughly and doused everything with “Great Big Plants” liquid compost.  Lastly I added the first level of cages to the self-watering containers.