What an interesting growing season this has been. It’s hard to believe that we live in a desert with it raining like 3 times a week and all. Being a water conservationist it’s hard for me to complain about the rain, but the long cool spring has definitely affected the growth of my plants. While the tomatoes came on late, some of mine are now 8′ tall and producing pounds every other day. Bring on the tomato glut!
What hasn’t bounced back so well are my peppers. They are just dinky and sad this year with small fruit and very low yields. I have one pepper plant that never grew over 4″. One problem I have every year is my peppers ripening unevenly. To compound this problem, it seems half the peppers get sun-scorched ta boot, rendering half the pepper inedible. Anyone have any pepper growing suggestions?
For some reason my okra JUST sprouted a week ago. I thought I had bunk seeds. It grows crazy fast and is already producing pods. Eggplants are doing reasonably well with the hybrids putting my heirlooms to shame in terms of production. The pinto beans have been producing steadily and I’m drying the beans for storage. My edamame plants look large and healthy but have only recently started putting out pods. A star performer for me this year has been spaghetti squash, yay!
As far as fertilization goes…
I’m pretty good about using liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. I started off with straight fish emulsion, then began adding Morbloom when the plants started flowering, and now I’m giving them straight Morbloom. Let me clarify that I only use half the recommended dilution when using Morbloom. I’ve gotten grief form my friends that Morbloom isn’t organically derived, but it’s what I had left from last season and it works. The 12+ tomatoes on each plant verify this. One of the arguments I heard against it was that non-organic fertilizers destroy the healthy soil bacteria and fungi. My engineer brain can’t resist a good research project, so I tried to verify this claim on the interwebs. While there is much anecdotal ballyhoo on Organic gardening websites about this, I could not find any scientific research to back up this claim. In fact, I found a few legitimate studies that effectively demonstrated no change in the concentrations of soil organisms when using chemical fertilizers. If anyone has some more information about this, please share…
Speaking of soil biome and fertilization, I mounded mulch around all of my plants a few weeks ago and the results have been dramatic. My rows are spaced closer than I’d like and I had been noticing that the soil around the plants was getting compacted because of walking on the clay-ey soil. I was kind of chintzy when I top dressed my garden with compost before planting; only putting down a 2” layer or so. If you can pick out the eggplants in the picture with the cucumber trellising, the one on the right is at least twice as big as the one of the left. As you can guess, the one on the right got a mound of compost mid-season, and the one of the left inadvertently didn’t. I never really thought much about adding compost midseason but I’m here to say it works!