garden journals

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Bad germination

Well, I got a terrible germination rate out of the seeds that I started in soil blocks. I'm not sure what went wrong, but I'm going with pre-germinating the seeds this time. It's a lot more work, but the success rate is a lot higher than starting in soil.

Running late with my starts

This year, with the seed starting rack, heat pads, and new greenhouse, I was sure that I'd get a great head start on the season. No such luck. Here it is, near the end of March, and I still haven't started the chile seeds. The tomatoes and tomatillos are in their soil blocks, and popping up, but no chiles or eggplants. I'll get them started tomorrow, for sure.

First chile set of the new year!

Yipee! Huzzah!

While watering the three chile plants that I brought in to overwinter, I noticed the first open flowers since November. Upon closer inspection, I noticed there was even a little tiny Thai chile set!

This is convincing me that I need to get some sort of greenhouse, or even an expanded growing area inside the house. Imagine picking your first tomatoes and chiles even before the last frost!

Well that was an accurate forecast

Around 7:00 PM I decided to check the weather again for storms later in the week, and the forcast for tonight had dropped from 26 to 21 degrees! Two days ago they were saying 36.

That certainly changed my evening plans around. I went out and pulled up all my chile plants, picking the remaining sweet peppers to cut up and freeze. I also picked the remaining Ancho and NuMex chiles to roast up as soon as the grill thaws out.

The plastic over the tunnels was already coated with ice while I was picking them.

Then once the chiles were taken care of, I disconnected the hoses and put on the faucet covers.

The killing frost finally arrived

The killing frost finally made it to the maritime northwest, about a month later than usual. The chiles, tomatoes and tomatillos that have been barely holding on are done for.

The temps dropped to 29 last night and are supposed to drop to 26 tonight. The plants under the low tunnels were able to survive 29, but I think they are going to be goners any lower than that. So it looks like tomorrow is going to be a day of pulling plants to hang in the garage to finish ripening whatever is left.

the it's time to plant cover crops in the parts of the tunnel not dedicated to winter veggies.

My chile seeds have arrived!

In addition to those seeds that I previously mentioned, I now have the following:

Paprika Pepper from Pinetree Garden Seeds (I'm going to try making my own smoked paprika)
Red Savina Habanero (an old packet I found from NK seeds

All the following are from Tomato Growers Supply Company:
Charleston Hot Cayenne
Fish Pepper
Thai Hot Ornamental
Mucho Nacho Hybrid Jalapeno
Congo Trinidad
Fatalii
Super Chili Hybrid
Bulgarian Carrot

I'm looking to plant them in my seed starting cabinet in about 2 weeks. I plan to just about double the number of plants in relation to last year, to alm

It's seed ordering time!

It now lloks like I have all the seed catalogs, other than Peaceful Valley, that I am going to get for this year, and it's time to start planning out my order.

This year, I'm going to force myself to behave. I have 20 different packets of sweet and hot pepper seeds from last year that I have kept in a jar with some dessicant. So I am going to make a list of them to keep in mind while I plan for next year. It's tough to show restraint while ordering seads and dreaming of garden in the middle of winter.

For sweet peppers, I don't really need to order any, since I have more than enough, but I think I will order either a paprika or a sweet cayenne, as well as one of the sweet habanero relatives, just for the flavor.

Sorry year for chiles

Well, 2005 will not go down as the best year ever for chiles in my garden. The cold, wet weather till mid-summer had the chile plants growing in slow motion for most of the season, and the only hot peppers that turned red in any quantity were the cayennes and the Chimayos. A fair number of Thai and Kung Pao chiles set, but they never turned color, so I brought them in and dried them green. The same thing for the passillas, they just never turned to their ripe color.

I did okay on the Anaheim, Big Jim and Barker green chiles, but certainly not great. The only reason that I was able to freeze up the anount that I did was because I had so many plants.

Friggin deer

To add to the fun of the odd weather, it seems that some deer have decided that Irish Spring soap really doesn't smell that bad after all. They wandered in between the tomato cages nibbling away. There wasn't too much damage, and at least they didn't get to the chiles . . . yet.

Wacky weather and late crops

This wild weather we have had this year has really thrown my gardening for a loop. Here it is coming up on mid-August, and I am finally going to get to harvest my first tomato this week! And there are some varieties of pepper that have yet to even set fruit.

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