I'll start with the peppers. This was a good year for my peppers though it shouldn't have been. The cold weather should have made it a bad year. I think the most contributing factor to this is the double dug bed.
- March 13th sowed in soil blocks on a heat mat
- March 16th germinated
- April 23rd potted up into newspaper pots
- April 24th first hour of sun outside (25th 3 hours, 26th five hours)
- April 30th planted in the ground with a remay row cover
- July 16th first harvest of Early Jalapenos
- August 4th first harvest of Serranos
- August 27th first harvest of Cayennes
They were seeded way too early. The peppers only needed six weeks to planting out. Everyone says eight to ten weeks and I think everyone is wrong. The research I've read says letting a pepper plant bloom before transplanting will inhibit its final production. It might produce earlier than a smaller one not in bloom, but in the long run it isn't worth it. So I want to get them transplanted before blooming. One of my pepper varieties was starting to bud at 6 1/2 weeks. I need to start them much later.
- 2 Cayennes: 0.33 lbs per plant
- 4 Serranos: 0.39 lbs per plant
- 6 Early Jalapenos: 0.55 lbs per plant
Two cayennes give more than enough to dry for my spice rack. One is probably better, but you never know if one will die on you, so I go with too many. I like the jalapenos better than the serranos, at least the later ones. The early ones were not hot at all. The later ones were great. So next year maybe only two serrano plants and more jalapenos or try something else. Peppers are not a great producer in the garden, but at least this year was good for me. Yes even though I had low numbers, I'm feeling pretty happy with the production. Like tomatoes, peppers have never done well here.
Not much seems to bother the peppers. I did have some four lined plant bugs in the garden for the first time this year. They put some funky looking holes in some leaves, but didn't seem to slow the plants down at all. The jalapenos were attacked (as they are every year) by some insect. I think a caterpillar, but have never seen it so not sure. They get holes in the fruits. It doesn't happen to a lot of them and the insect doesn't touch the hotter peppers or anything else in the garden. I've been ignoring it for year and I'm guessing I'll continue to do so. It takes a bit of my harvest but not much. The late blight didn't seem to affect the peppers at all. I heard some reports of peppers getting attacked in New England, but not mine.
I saved seeds from my jalapenos this year. I waited until after the first flush of peppers were picked then isolated the plant. This was not long enough for the plant to totally ripen the pod. They were starting to turn, but it was too cold outside for them to finish. Bringing the plant inside worked well, but if I save seed of something next year I ought to pick my plant before the first blooms open, so it they will have all summer to ripen.
I don't think I'm going to change anything but the start dates on my transplants next year. Things worked pretty well. I keep thinking about getting another variety of chili pepper, but haven't made up my mind yet. Anyone have some favorite chili peppers they might recommend?