More Hot Pepper Action (2008 Garden Update #7)

Time for another update on the garden. Let’s start with an image:

One day\'s harvest

That is pretty much the type of harvest we’re getting about twice per week. We’re getting a ton of peppers. We have been drying them and storing them in jars, and will grind them to powders to use as a spice when the season is over.

Everything is going quite well. The weather is starting to cool off a bit, so the plants are experiencing their first relief from the heat in quite some time. They are responding with new growth and new blooms.

The garden has been attacked by squash bugs. These nasty bugs sit on the peppers and puncture them so they can feed. The only way I’ve read to get rid of them is to use some really, really nasty chemicals that I’m really not interested in using, so I have come up with my own method.

First, for the mature bugs, I use scissors. I simply cut the adult squash bugs right in half. They stink when you cut them, kind of like a mix between cucumbers and a gallon of latex paint. It’s nasty. For the nymphs (baby squash bugs, they’re bright orange), I knock them off the peppers/leaves and into a dish of water mixed with a small amount of automatic dishwasher detergent. They stop moving almost instantly. I check the garden three or four times per day, scanning for bugs, and manually killing them. It has worked pretty well so far, and the population is dwindling. I haven’t seen a mature squash bug in about a week, although the number of the nymphs has risen.

I’m starting to put together a mental plan for wintering the plants, although I have at least two to three months before our first frost. The plan includes using plastic, PVC, and a southern exposure spot in the yard that is conveniently sheltered between a fence and our furnace.

Anyway, that’s it for now. More to come later!

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