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.
I taught a tomato class last Saturday at Viola’s Nursery in Flagstaff as part of their annual Tomato Fest. Viola’s had 75 varieties of tomatoes for sale, which is a phenomenal amount. Twenty people attended my class on a rainy cold snowy day. It went well in spite of the weather! Enjoy the 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 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.
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.
Give this a try. You will be surprised at how much faster these fruit will ripen.
Note: photos of pumpkin platforms are from Wes and Susan Lockwood’s garden in Flagstaff, AZ.
People often complain that their onions never get very big in Flagstaff. In general, larger onions are usually obtained when growing onions from seeds rather than sets. Here is an old “trick” that will help you get bigger onions from planting sets in a short season area.
When planting the bulbs, place them shallowly in the soil, just barely under the soil surface and space them at least three inches apart. As the plants grow, gradually pull the soil back from the bulbs so that by August, at least 2/3 of the bulb is above ground. It looks odd, but do it. In a long growing season the tops of the onions will eventually fall over and die back, and this is when the bulbs really start to enlarge. In a short season area such as Flagstaff there isn’t enough time for this to happen, so you must help them out.
Around September 1st ( I remember because it is Coconino County Fair time) go out into the garden and literally walk all over your onion plants and stomp them down. Do not cut the tops off, just leave the mashed mess as is. (Your shoes will smell of onions.) Now the bulbs will enlarge quickly and be ready to harvest around Halloween.
You will be amazed at how this little “trick” (who some think is an “old wives tale”) will help you grow beautiful large onions.
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.
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.
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.
So far, no more damage has occurred.
I have also installed a wildlife camera to see who our night-time visitors are.
The month of June is almost over, and I’ve been hard at work in the greenhouse!
June 7 – Today I transplanted the cucumber and cantaloupe seedlings, putting all of the cucumbers in the outdoor garden and as well as two of the cantaloupe seedlings. One of the cantaloupe seedlings went in the main bed in the greenhouse. The outdoor garden and greenhouse plants are growing nicely. The orchard is also looking healthy at this point. In fact, we started picking apricots today—both Sweetheart and Blenheim Royal. Very delicious!!
June 14 – Picked lots of beets and some carrots in the greenhouse. The beets had gotten pretty big. The carrots were medium size.
June 15 – Today was harvest day for the nectarines from the tree behind the greenhouse. I picked 3 plastic grocery bags full as well as a bag of Sweetheart apricots from the orchard.
June 18 – Today I picked the first eggplant from the greenhouse – “Hansel” variety.
June 22 – I harvested the first zucchini and yellow summer squash from the outside garden as well as the Santa Rosa plums from the tree behind the greenhouse.
June 24 – First harvest of green beans from the outside garden and first “Stupice” tomato from the greenhouse.
Here are some before photos of the green house in late winter/early spring:
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.
I 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.