If you enjoy gardening then there is no resisting the fun of outdoor gardening even with an AeroGarden in the house. We can still make some room for it here.
The Outdoor Deck Garden
(06/22/11) So many hot peppers I may do a business venture with the lemonade stand girl in the neighborhood
So fine, maybe I did plant too many pepper plants for one person to utilize. It is starting to look that way when there are so many hot peppers about to be ripe for the picking in around two weeks (not to mention the hot peppers coming from the AeroGarden already). So maybe I will open a stand next to the little lemonade girl on the block. It will be a great marketing tactic. Have someone try one of the peppers, set their mouth on fire and she will swoop right in with "Wanna buy some lemonade?" It is fool proof! They would probably buy it at a premium price with the right pepper.
So yeah, the hot pepper plants are cruising towards the sky. The original pot planted has plants that have exceeded the 4 foot stakes. Of course when I was buying the four foot stakes I was looking at them like they won't get much bigger then that... Well it looks like they may very well get far bigger. The Serrano peppers are in the lead for producing the most, upwards of 15 peppers on the plant so far. At least half have reached their full size, just waiting on the green to turn to red. I am thinking of cutting a green one off since the ones you get in the store are generally green. Once they turn red though, they pack a much bigger punch. It is mostly for my own knowledge in how they compare.
Just one of the many Serrano peppers
There also loads of Red Cherry Hot Peppers which are bigger then I expected and grow in a different way, upside down.
The upside down growing Red Cherry Hot Peppers
The Cayenne Long Red peppers are longer then I expected and each one that is growing has taken its own shape. Some of them are really doing some funky things.
Fun shaped Cayenne Long Red Peppers
The Jalapeño plant in this pot is just starting to produce peppers and the Caribbean Red Hot plant is growing taller but still not producing anything as of yet. As for the second smaller pot, while the Caribbean Red Hot plant is also not producing anything as of yet, the Jalapeño plant is..
Figures the Jalapeño in the smaller pot that was planted later is producing fruit faster then the other Jalapeño plant
The Cherry Bomb peppers are growing just like the Red Cherry Hot peppers, upside down. The Cherry Bomb plant had a bit of an incident after a storm which bent it over completely. I hadn't start using the stakes that I put in the pots when I planted them as the plants had grown around them getting naturally intertwined but I guess it was time to start.
The Red Cherry Hot Peppers growing upside down
Here are the latest pictures of the pots themselves:
Smaller Pot, just over one month of progress (June 20, 2011 on the left, May 17, 2011 on the right)
Larger pot, just under two months of progress (June 20, 2011 on the left, April 26, 2011 on the right)
Having grown things on my deck nearly every year, I have never had three tomato plants growing at once and to that point have never had tomato plants grow this big. I was thinking when I put just two 6 foot stakes in each of these pots that would be more than enough. I even chuckled to myself looking at the tiny plant next to the 6 foot stake thinking "that is a bit of overkill." Unfortunately the stakes are crying mercy as the tomato plants over come them and one of the tomato plants has a stem that has reached the height of the stake.
I continue to wrap a ribbon style twine around the ever growing branches to prevent them from flopping over with the growing weight of the branches. It is turning into an 2nd job with how many I keep putting on and taking off. The plants have just taken over and are going in whatever direction they want, including sideways.
My neighbors continue to awe at my deck and I constantly get the question "What are you feeding those plants?" I almost feel bad for my one neighbor who planted his tomato plant the exact same weekend I planted mine... His is half the height. I catch him looking over at my deck with a look of jealousy and possible bitterness. I may start getting concerned that all the other neighbors with tomato plants may have a sudden mood change that goes from calm jealousy to irritated jealousy which causes acts of violence towards my happy plants. I am kidding, my neighbors wouldn't do that... Well... Let's hope not...
Nothing has started turning red yet but it shouldn't be long. One of my tomato plants had a close call (well it frightened me). Being someone who has delt with blight one season, it always makes me nervous when I start seeing spots on yellowing leaves from the base of the plant. Two weeks ago it started spreading up relatively rapidly over the course of four days. Enough to make me chop off a branch, run over to the nursery where I was given a fungus and early blight spray and was told not to worry. Needless to say, two applications of that and all seems well.
I have noticed some growth cracks on just a couple tomatoes as well as a couple tomatoes with catface. Not concerned about it yet as it is on the very first few tomatoes and could likely be caused by the rapid growth they have gone through the last month. The newer tomatoes still look good. Something to keep an eye on though.
In the last week, since the dirt had seemed to settle since I planted I decided to add more manure and organic potting soil with a bunch of 10-10-10 fertilizer as a means of doing my first round of adding nutrients. Mixed it all up ahead of time in a bucket and threw it on top. Outside of that, just water on them once a day and the once weekly spray of an organic tomato pest spray.
So here are the current pictures, just under two months since planting. Since I was so entertained about the growth of these guys in the last post I will include the beginning picture next to the current picture...
Principe Borghese (7.5 Weeks, click here to see some of the tomatoes)
Carmello (7.5 Weeks, click here to see some of the tomatoes)
Celebrity (7.5 Weeks, click here to see some of the tomatoes)
Well three weeks later, an additional pot of three hot pepper plants, about a half dozen strawberries eaten and one traumatic incident involving a storm and a bent over tomato plant... Here is the update.
New Small Pepper Pot:
Nothing too special to talk about here. Two of the hot pepper plants that are in this pot are in the other hot pepper pot. Up in the front and center is the insanely hot Caribbean Red Hot plant. Super small like the other one was/is when first planted so we probably won't see much from it for a couple months. But when we do, these are the peppers that pack the heat, upwards of 400,000 Scoville. On the right hand side is another Jalapeño plant. You really can't have enough of these and I simply use them all the time as they go with everything. On the left hand side is a Cherry Bomb pepper plant. Named right after the way the pepper itself looks, it is a new one for me. Apparently it is a fantastic pepper to pickle. It is a little lower then the heat produced by a Jalapeño at about a maximum of 5,000 Scoville.
Well, about 8 little strawberries have been harvested from this plant but man has it been growing new leaves. As of late, it has grown out lots of runners that look like this:
Since my plants are growing in a pot and have no desire for sister plants I have been simply cutting them off. No reason to waste the plants energy on something that won't fit in the pot. The strawberries have been very sweet and tasty although pretty small.
I have noticed a great deal of tiny, what look to be fruit flies. I had to pay a visit to the nursery to get some fruit and vegetable spray at which point I was told that it is very common and had no reason to be alarmed. When I expressed concern about how long did I have to stop spraying Here is the pot as it is now, three weeks in...
These three plants have grown the most out of the bunch. I thought I was going to lose one of them after a strong storm blew through and I found the plant bent over in half. Luckily, the point where it was bent over was still whole and didn't break open. At that point I taped each one to the stakes so something like that would never happen again.
Here are the three most recent pictures (current on the left, 3 weeks ago on the right)... Amazing growth so far. I guess they love that
Pepper Pot (Older One):
Not much to say about these guys but that they are growing. So far, so good... I was very surprised to see the Serrano pepper plant has already decided to produce a pepper. Surprising since a Serrano pepper is a pretty big pepper and it is on pretty small plant.
So as usual, when this time of year comes, I go over board at the nursery thinking that my deck is bigger then it is. Or it could just be that everything looks smaller then it is until you get it all home... For example, what happened to me when cutting my Christmas tree down last year... It didn't look that tall in the open field with all the other trees but sure enough when I got it home and upright in its stand...
Anyway, on to the outside planting... This year, since the herbs are so successful in the AeroGarden, I am going to skip them on the deck this year. Instead I went an unventured route... Fruit. Not sure how much success will come of this or, even more of a concern, end up just feeding the birds (not intentionally of course) but I figured it would be fun to try. Along with the fruit there is the excessive amount of hot pepper plants (I can't help it, I am a spicy food fanatic) and tomato plants.
In each pot I went with a 50/50 ratio of Miracle Grow Oraganic Potting Mix and Composted Manure (I can't believe I have to pay for cow poop). So here is what we have so far (there will be one more hot pepper pot coming shortly as well)...
Four strawberry plants in a large pot. I still need to add some mulch as I have been told they like cool soil and hopefully the mulch will help keep the humid heat away from the roots as the summer approaches. There are three types of Strawberries. I went with Quinault, Everbearer strawberries. I was told they produce the largest, sweetest strawberries with 3 harvests in the spring, summer and fall.
Raspberry Bush (Someday):
I realize I won't see much of anything from this during the upcoming season so I will call this a long term project. I have a feeling I will be transplanting this next season to a larger pot if all goes well but I am just hoping to see some successful growth this year. While it looks like I just planted a twig, there is a root (dormant) on the end in the soil. Just so it is known, I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to this. I think I need to put some bamboo stakes in to potentially support what could be coming.
Going for variety this year. Instead of just growing two types like previous years, I am going for five. Serrano pepper plant (back left) which is supposed to get up to several feet tall. This pepper is a bit hotter (10,000 to 25,000 Scoville) then the typical Jalapeno and I have plans for some pico de gallo with its output. Cayenne Long Red (front left) which is expected to be one to two feet tall. This little thin walled pepper will be used in some of my favorite thai dishes. Packs even more of a punch then the Serrano at about 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville. Caribbean Red Hot (front center) is a pepper I grew last year. I had no idea what I was in for until I tried one. All I have to say is WOW. Twice as hot as an Orange Habanero, this little sucker is not to be played with (upwards of 400,000 Scoville). I used them in my chili recipe last year that was a favorite. This plant gets to nearly two feet tall and is very branchy. Jalapeño pepper (front right) is always a must. You can pretty much use it in everything from eggs to salsas to you name it. Not that spicy at 2,500 to 9,000 Scoville. And the last one in this pot is the Red Cherry Hot Pepper (back right). This is a first time for me growing these little guys. Apparently they look just like a cherry but obviously won't be sweet like a cherry. I have some hot stuffed poppers in mind for these guys. I put a 4 foot stake next to each on in anticipation of each one growing nice and tall. Better to do it now then risk hurting any roots later.
This year instead of one tomato plant, why not grow three. Each one is getting its own large pot with 6 foot stakes.I planted them pretty deep, trimming off the lower leaves as these plants create roots at these points.
Carmello - Heavy juicy tomatoes great for salads
Celebrity - a beefsteak tomato that is great for sandwiches
Principe Borghese - a roma tomato great for making tomato sauces
It is almost that time of year again... Get the dirt under the nails and let the garden overwhelm the deck. More to come in the next couple weeks.
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