20 September 2012

Working In the Late Garden

I worked in the garden some this afternoon.  I pulled up some of the tomato and pepper plants that were about finished and stored the cages that I put around them.  In a couple of the shots below, you can see some seed that I saved from some peppers.  Once the seeds are dried, I'll put them in envelopes, then into the freezer.

A view of some of the turnips sown back in August.
The sweet bell peppers were all very small, due to the prolonged and extreme heat.  They were very prolific, however, and still taste good!

Red Hot Chili Peppers, well...Jalapenos actually.

I saved some seed from four varieties of peppers.  The top ones are jalapenos.  The rest are different colored varieties of bell peppers.
 My neighbor has some long slender chili peppers in his garden.  I will trade him some jalapenos for some of them to dry and save some seed from.

I also prepared a couple of spots where I planted some late lettuce and spinach.  The coming cooler weather should be good for growing some late salads.  The short row of turnips is also coming along.  None of these plots and plantings would ever grace a magazine cover, but they sure produce good vegetables!

After scratching the straw mulch back, I planted two short rows of spinach.

Soon, I'll remove the most of the remaining tomato plants and keep only a couple to eat off of (until the frost finally gets them).

After removing all the plants, I'll scatter a good load of horse manure over the whole plot.  Then I'll till the garden up and turn all the straw mulch and manure into the soil.  It will continue to decompose over the winter and should make the soil much looser and richer, come spring. 

A few weeks ago, Patti and I went up to the Bloomington Farmers Market.  It was a really good market with a tremendous variety of produce, baked goods, and much more available.  I came across a lady who sells peppers...just peppers...all kinds of peppers!  It happens that I really like the little fiery red Thai peppers, but haven't had any for a few years.  This vendor had several varieties, so Patti and I picked out a couple that we liked the looks of and bought them.  I'll put in a plug for her business here:  The Chile Woman

I have the plants sitting in a south facing window right now and will overwinter them there.  Next spring, I will move each plant into a hanging basket.  In addition, I'll be saving seed from some of the fruits and start more plants from them.

Don't let their diminutive size fool you...these rascals will hurt you!
These interesting Ordono peppers are from Mexico and range from orange, red to purple.


  1. i have been out each day for a little bit giving my gardens some cleanup..only things left now are bell pepper plants and eggplants. and they will be gone too in about a week or so. since i have been gardening in raised beds i dont have a whole lot left to do. i will be covering some spots well with newspaper or cardboard and some pine straw and woodchip mulch. cleaning and stacking some of my big pots. rolling up the hoses and grabbing the water cans to put into storage shed. collecting up any tools that have been left about-have hubby sharpen some, get them cleaned and in their proper places. official autumn is just around the corner and nights are now down in the fifties. the cyprus trees are beginning to turn orange. gotta give the grass one more close cutting and glean some of the fallen tree branches for a good bonfire on halloween. i love this time of year!

  2. Charles,

    How long have you been using straw as a mulch? We have a terrible bermuda grass problem in one of our plots. Each year we pull bermuda 2-3 times in the course of the seasons. Does the straw block out the weeds and unwanted plants? It looks like the straw covers between the planting beds, does it work there also?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Steve in Central CA

  3. Thanks, friends, for checking in. This time of year brings a lot of work with it, putting everything in order for the coming winter.

    Steve, we've been using straw for many years. In the early garden, after things are up and growing well, I give the whole garden a good hoeing. I pull any remaining weeds. Next, a single layer of newspapers is put down and covered with a good layer of straw, shaken onto the paper. This has worked great for us. It keeps weeds down (I pull a few that come up in close to the garden plants), holds moisture, and once it is tilled into the soil, adds tilthe and texture and good organic material. It greatly reduces the amount of time spent weeding after its in place. If you go through and pull the bermuda grass, then mulch, it will really help get it under control, I believe.
    Good luck. Let me know how it goes!