So… First off, apologies to our fan(s) for the extended period of ‘radio silence’. Our goal was to make a blog update once a month, but… y’all know how it goes with the plans of mice and men? So, too, goes it with peppers and blogs!
To say it has been a BUSY summer here at BobbyGitr is an understatement. SO much work owning a small business, but... labor of love and all that jazz.
|Not quite the whole garden - view from upstairs|
PEPPERS: There was a rough cold snap that hit us about two weeks after our first planting, and we lost several of those we were attempting to harden off for sale. Fortunately, all the peppers that lived came back stronger and more beautiful than we could have hoped!
Though we sent a chunk of plants to good homes, there were too many left at the ‘end’ of planting season to simply trash… so we just said ‘whatevs’ and planted more. A LOT more. All told, we put over 120 pepper plants in the ground in our limited space, with another 30 or so in containers on the porch.
One big downside to putting so many plants in the ground is that some nutrients have been depleted quicker than expected. We noticed some leaf retardation in July due to calcium deficiency and began periodically collecting and grinding egg shells into a fine powder and letting the kids put them around the base of the plants. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough; dropped fruits with end rot appeared this week (lack of calcium). Issues like this can easily be corrected with a Calcium-Magnesium spray, but it can’t save those brave soldiers that have already fallen—God speed, li'l buddies! Hopefully we can do enough to prevent more fruit loss.
Another issue rearing its ugly head this time of year is that of pests. In one night, the entire top of a reaper plant—leaves, peppers, and all—were eaten down to the STEMS. At first we thought it might be some kind of animal, but the dogs usually scare off four-footed bandits, so we were left a bit stumped. There was, however, a lot of unfamiliar critter scat on the ground around the mauled plants. For quick answers, we took to "the Internets" and, after a quick pic and post to our pepper group, we were pretty sure that the culprit was a tomato hornworm. Looked it up and...
Did not know they could do so much damage so quickly! Since we could not find the buggers by hand for fish food, we made the decision to hose ‘em down with Triazicide. Prior to our little skirmish with the Corn Earworms last year, we were basically organic gardeners out of laziness, but we have taken to pesticides when the peppers are threatened and we can't get things under control ourselves. We haven’t seen any further damage, and are hoping it stays that way through harvest so we don't have to put anything else on them, but we are thankful to have them in a pinch.
It’s that time of year where things are just getting beautiful. The power of nature is evident in it boldest and brightest these days... and this is where it's at, for me.
Most of the plants are setting fruit (except the ones we planted late), and about a quarter are changing into their late summer colors.
We allow the plants to pollinate without interference from us, resulting in some visually stunning pods and crosses—bright orange “peach” bhut jolokias, red fataliis, chocolate UBSCs, to name a few.
SAUCE: The first harvest and hot sauce makin’ will be THIS WEEKEND, and probably every week through September/October, depending on the weather. Unfortunately, we could not partner with a commercial kitchen in time to get sauce into the Farmer’s Market, but we look VERY forward to getting our HACCP plan down and ‘official’ go-ahead for local retail sales next year. In the meantime, we will continue with BobbyGitr’s Bottle Sale—purchase a BobbyGitr Hot Sauce Bottle, and you’ll get a sample of the sauce of your choosing for free!
We love to talk peppers and disc golf, so chat us up in the comments section, on Facebook, or @bobbygitr on Twitter!
“You can always tell when it’s me writing… the blog posts are longer and not funny.”