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Garden Recovery Plan Complete; Rebuild Under Way…

Seven Peppers

Man, I hate it when that happens. A late freeze, I mean. I’d already declared Winter dead and Spring sproinged back in mid-March when the temperatures reached about 90 hereabouts. That’s hot enough, right? Now way could it freeze again after that.

Dang Global Warming stuff.

I had 30+ tomato plants out, a large area of radishes, two rows of cucumbers, two rows of spring peas, and about 25 or so pepper plants in the ground. The cucumbers were already a second planting, as the ones we transplanted had all expired. I don’t think that was due to freeze, but in any case, I’d had to buy seeds and try again. The second time I simply sowed them into the rows as I removed the deaders.

After the freeze, I had one struggling pepper plant, one row of cukes (the other one was completely wiped out; weird), and the peas. Oh, the two rosemary plants I’m trying seemed to do fine. And a couple of sickly tomato plants.

That was it. A Garden Called Wasteland.

Radishes With Peas

Back to the square one, a.k.a. Home Depot. With support from Lowes Garden Center, Green ‘n Growing, and Gaddy’s Hardware, Garden & Feed. Fortunately, all these places don’t mind Sonia walking through, helping me pick out replacement victims vegetables. After considerable consternation consideration I had my selections, all stored in the nursery or directly into the ground. Here’s the list:

The tomatoes: Amelia (2), Better Boy (1), Better Bush (2), Bush Goliath (2), Homestead (2), Husky Red Cherry (2), Old German (1), Marglobe (3), Phoenix (3), Pineapple (2), Pink Brandywine (2), Summer Set (3), Solar Fire (3), Sungold Cherry (4), Sweet 100 Cherry (3).

(I know; that’s quite a variety. It’s like investing in the stock market: Diversifying is a solid strategy. Unless the market crashes, of course.)

The peppers: Barker’s New Mexico Red (2), Cubanelle (4), Habanero (4), Hot Banana (2), Kung Pao Hybrid (5), Purple Bell (1), Red Bell (1), Red Caribbean (5), Red Cayenne (3), Serrano (3), Sweet Banana (2), Tangerine Dream (4), Yellow Bell (1), Yellow Cayenne (4). And the one “zombie,” the only pepper that survived the freeze, a tiny, sickly poblano. PJ wouldn’t let me terminate it with extreme prejudice nuke it with the hoe humanely put it out of its misery. (Maybe Archie the Garden Qat will mistake it for a weed. She wouldn’t hurt Archie, would she? Would she??)

Archie Guards

Most of these tomatoes are new to us this year. We’ve raised Husky Reds before, and Better Boys. But none of the others are familiar. Having four Sungolds was a happy accident, and so they’re scattered about the garden plot. Hopefully they’ll produce well, as they’re a colorful, golden-orange cherry fruit. The Old German is really two plants I got half-price, and neither was looking too great when I got them. They’d been nipped by the freeze at the garden center. So I put them together in one foxhole; hopefully one of them will make it. They’re an heirloom variety, as are the Pineapples and the Homesteads. Oh, and the Pink Brandywines too; Amish, I understand. I tried to select for heat resistance where I could: Amelias, Phoenix, Summer Set, Solar Fire, and so on. We’ll see how that works out. Only the Sweet 100s are from seed in our own nursery. Next year, maybe more varieties from seed, as we’re getting that process all worked out.

I’ve separated the determinates from the indeterminates, and (mostly) sorted by growth height, with the taller plants closer to the west fence and the indeterminates in the far corner. We’ll see if that strategy gets the sunshine spread around equitably, and also having the determinates (which finish early) in one area may allow us to prepare that space for fall/winter veggies.

The pepper patch is larger this year than last, with nearly four dozen plants. Several varieties are old favorites, with a few this year from seed: Tangerine Dreams, Red Caribs, Habaneros, Kung Pao. Sadly, many of the seedlings didn’t do well this year. I’m consulting with my cousin (the one who ran the flower shop and nursery) on ways to improve next year’s starts. In any case, we enjoyed the Cubanelles so much last year we expanded that set, and I’m experimenting with the Barkers, the Purple Bell (purple skin, green flesh), and the Tangerine Dreams. I’m sure I’ll have a colorful selection for the table, and for jelly tortures experiments.

Unless the bugs get them all. Or hail…

Enjoy the (Second Garden of the Year) Heat!

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