Pregnant peppers.

Not literally, but they are late. I sowed the tomatoes a month ago and ran out of steam/time/hands. “Next weekend,” I promised. It passed. “Next weekend,” I repeated. Again, it passed. A month late now, but they’re sown and heated and moist. Bells and jalapenos, fish and five color, poblano and (if I can find my seeds) gypsies.

The tomatoes are already looking to move. The strawberries, too. I think it’s time to buckle down and build a second grow light.

And sow some peas! I’m ever so excited. I missed the fall window so we haven’t had garden snacks (aka peas) in ages.

Speaking of changing lodging, I do believe the paper whites are moving off of the kitchen window sill and into the out of doors. The neighbors’ bedded ones seemed much happier than mine.

Summer hasn’t quit yet.

The peppers have slowed down, but aren’t done yet. Just the other day a purple bell pepper joined some carrots and other veggies for a lunch saute.

In making room for new fall veggies, it was time to pull some old timers.

Of course, once I sowed the next round of carrots, it started raining. Forget rain dances, if you need it to rain at your house just have me over to sow some carrot seeds! (The last four times I’ve sown carrots now, it’s rained long and hard within days.)

I didn’t pull all of the carrots though. Some are still small enough to make a late appearance on my plate, and others I’ve let go wild to both see what happens and collect seed. Like these two:

Peppers!

The peppers haven’t minded the heat, or the cool front, and are churning out their fruit like the good little food-producers they are.

What I learned about peppers recently:

  • Anaheim peppers will turn brownish, and then bright red. They are less bitter the longer they ripen.
  • They don’t need tomato cages like I thought. They do fall over when they get laden with fruit, but that’s ok with me.
  • Planting them at 15″ instead of 18″-24″ will let their canopies shade the ground so they don’t get so hot and dry so quickly (even when I forget to mulch for the third time come July…)
  • Bell peppers that start out purple just might turn orange on you.
  • Fish peppers are the most interesting looking peppers I’ve ever seen, and grow on the prettiest of plants. It’ll be a walk-way lining plant next year instead.

Think there are enough Anaheim peppers on this branch?

Fish pepper plant looking lovely…

And the peppers themselves just get cooler looking!

I call these “button bells” – they don’t really get much bigger than this. I’m guessing it’s my water restrictions.

As for the cayenne…they just won’t quit! I have a Ristra, and a bowlful, and am about to try my hand at drying them for grinding.

Delicious homecoming!

Coming home is always so nice. Aside from DH and the boys being here, it has so many reasons that I love coming back. It smells like DH’s cooking. It has the right pillow. I have gardens to walk through.

More reasons?

Sprouts!

This is the cauliflower pan. As many varieties as I like to grow of peppers and tomatoes, so far I’ve only grown one variety of cauliflower – Amazing.

And the delicious part of coming home?

Bell peppers from the garden! Orange and purple, even.

And those tomatoes? Still going strong. We broke the 40 lb mark and still can’t keep up. I’m taking more to work tomorrow to give away, and still have too many. What to do? The internet says you can freeze cherry tomatoes, which is about all I have time for currently. So as much as I’d like to try my hand at canning tomatoes for the first time, I didn’t grow any typical canning varieties and honestly don’t feel like blowing up the kitchen with my canning shenanigans. (If anyone knows how to keep the kitchen moderately clean while canning, I am all ears.)

So, I removed the stems, and put them in a strainer for a quick bath.

I gently rolled them on a tea towel to dry, placed them on a cookie sheet, and started to put them in the freezer…ooops! No room! So I made room by taking out the peaches I just froze and putting them in a ziplock for longer storage.

Oh, and making sure your cookie sheet actually fits in the freezer? Good idea BEFORE ¬†you put the rolly-polly tomatoes all over it. Also, because you don’t own a cookie sheet with edges, right? Right. (I don’t.)

So carefully tuck the cookie sheet into the freezer…and then! The chicken doesn’t fit. Luckily those tomatoes are rolly-polly! So I rolled them over, and the chicken made friends.

But not all the food is a success. This was my second year attempting melons, and my first year with melons setting on the vines. I think I may have planted them out too late though. They’re ripening while still tiny-sized. One Tigger Melon ripened and went bad in a day. The other? Ripened at the size of a golf ball. And this poor guy, a Kansas Melon, was growing nicely and we hit 102 this weekend. Boom. Ripe and bug-infested. But doesn’t the flesh look lovely?

The Farmer’s Market here is a good gauge for me as to when things should be ripe. I try and work backwards from when things at the Farmer’s Market are available to when I should be sowing similarly plants. The melons were ripe here about a month ago. I direct sowed these melons…where are the notes…that I didn’t make on the melons! Ha! My timeline shows that I intended to sow them March 15th. With how this year has gone, I probably sowed them about March 30th. So next year I’ll start them indoors Feb 1st and see how that goes. We have gotten a freeze in March once in the last nine years (for a few hours) but this year we didn’t have a freeze after…December?

And today we hit 106.

Home, hot, sweet, delicious, home!

 

P.S. If anyone remembers to remind me, I do not care for Jiffy Organic Seed Sowing Mix. It’s like powdered dirt it’s SO light and fluffy. I couldn’t recall if I liked Jiffy and didn’t like MiracleGro’s Organic, or vice versa. I’ve just re-learned my preference, but that doesn’t mean I’ll remember it.