The time is again upon us to plant our gardens. Well, actually, if you live in the South like I do and you haven’t planted your garden yet, you’re late. Jaime and I planted our garden a couple of months ago, and the plants are just now big enough to transplant.
Last year we grew a wide variety of plants: tomatoes (only yielded about 15 tomatoes total), several varieties of peppers, watermelon (never grew big enough to eat), several varieties of other hybrid melons, basil, oregano, parsley, pole beans, strawberries (never grew at all), peas (not enough to harvest), chives, and cilantro.
Learning from our mistakes from last year, we decided that this year we would try container gardening. Our soil is mostly sand, and just wasn’t cutting it. We forgot to get the soil tested earlier in the spring, so containers seemed like the best option.
Our garden this year is based more on function and less on the “it would be cool to grow that” factor. We planted in two phases.
Herbs. Our herb garden contains the following:
- Frenleaf Dill
Everything is growing fairly well. The Oregano we planted from seed grew to about 1/2″ and then died. We had planted Rosemary, but it never even sprouted. Our Spearmint took forever to sprout, but is definitely still alive and growing.
The second phase of our garden– and the best part– is the tomatoes and peppers.
We’re growing two types of tomatoes: Rutgers Select and Super Sweet 100 Hybrid (Cherry). We’re growing them in buckets– 5 gallon, and cat litter containers. We used a soil mix consisting of Scott’s potting mix, perilite, lime, and composted manure. We fertilized with a 10-10-10 large-grain fertilizer. We’ve got 7 buckets total, with one to two plants per bucket. We’ve got tomato cages ready to go when they are needed. I’m expecting great results off of these plants.
We’re growing lots of peppers. Jaime and I love them, and so we’re growing a huge variety. Here’s the breakdown:
- Scotch Bonnet. These peppers are hot as hell. We planted them from seeds taken from peppers we bought at the grocery store. If they grow true, they should be yellow when ripe, and very hot. We’ll use them in hot sauces.
- Hungarian Wax. These peppers came out of a variety pack of seeds. We grew them last year, and in our poor soil they did poorly. In containers, we expect them to grow well.
- Anaheim. These also came out of a variety pack of seeds, and also performed poorly last year. I’m expecting them to grow well, and I’m interested in seeing how they taste.
- Large Cherry. Again, variety pack, and again, poor grower last year. We ended up with one– yes, one– of these peppers last year. They look like they’d be pretty hot, so I’m hoping they grow well.
- Long Red Cayenne. Another variety pack seed from last year. These grew great last year in our poor soil, with a total harvest of probably around 50 peppers. In fact, I still have a dried jar of these sitting on the kitchen counter from last year. Unfortunately, they’re not very hot– but they do have nice flavor.
- Jalapeno. These are some of the hottest Jalapeños I’ve ever eaten. They’re from the variety pack from last year, and I expect them to be just as hot this year. One of the plants, in fact, was planted last year and actually made it through the winter. I transplanted it to a big pot, and it is doing very well.
- Poblano/Ancho. When dried, these are Anchos, and have great flavor. When green and fresh, they are Poblanos. I’ve eaten them before, but never grown them (like most of these peppers), so I’m excited to see some fruit.
- Habañero. Aaah, the Habañero. I love these things. They have an incredibly potent, almost chemical heat. A piece the size of a letter on a page will make most people’s eyes water. They are just insanely hot. Some of my Habañeros are carry-overs from last year, and some are store-bought as small plants. Either way, they’re going to be hot as hell. Mmmmm. Last year, we harvested tons of these– probably between 25 and fifty of them. I hope we get ten times that this year.
- Sweet Bell – Purple. This one was purchased by mistake. I didn’t intentionally buy a sweet pepper– honest. But, I did, and so I will grow it and enjoy it. It’ll be good roasted on the grill, I’m sure. When it fully ripens, it turns red, and we all know that red/yellow/purple peppers typically cost twice as much as regular ol’ green peppers.
- Mild Jalapeño. I’m really looking forward to these. The other Jalapeños we’re growing are just too hot to enjoy on a plate of nachos. The heat overpowers the cheese flavor. These should be nice and tasty.
- Serrano. I don’t know much about Serranos besides having heard of them before, so I’m interested in seeing how they taste.
- Anaheim. These peppers are traditionally used to make Chile Relleno, so it looks like I’ll be learning how to make that. Heh!
- Tabasco. The pepper of the famed hot sauce. I’ll probably follow their lead and use them for a homemade sauce or two.
- Cowhorn. These are basically big Cayennes (8-10″), so I’m expecting them to be nice and flavorful. Maybe they’ll be hotter than Cayennes as well, which I find to be quite mild– even more mild than Jalapeños.
- Red Chili. Not much to say about these other than they are supposed to be small and hot. In the pepper world, the smaller a pepper is, typically the hotter a pepper is. We’ll see.
- Thai Hot. These peppers are– dare I say– cute. They’re tiny little things– about the size of a finger nail. We grew these as ornamentals at a greenhouse where I worked, so I thought they were just ornamentals, but apparently you can eat them. One of our plants is a holdover from last year, and we have a bunch of these that we grew from seed. We’ll see if the plants from seed grow true, but either way they are fun peppers to grow.
- Hot Banana. I’m not a huge fan of banana peppers, but I suspect that it is partially because I’ve only had them pickled from a jar. I’m not sure if I’ll like them, but I’m definitely not opposed to growing them to find out.
- Hot Cherry. I think these are a hotter variety of the Large Cherry pepper listed above. They’re small, so they should be pretty hot. I have a feeling I’m going to like them.
So there we have it, the 2007 garden. I’m still hoping to add a few more peppers, since we have a very long growing season down here. I want to order some seeds from both Pepper Joe’s and Reimer Seeds, particularly Paprika peppers, Jolokia peppers (VERY hot), and more varieties of Habañeros and Scotch Bonnets like the White Habañero, the Chocolate Scotch Bonnet, the Mustard Habañero, and the Pumpkin Habañero.
As soon as we start to see some peppers, I’ll post some pictures!