Will Work For Food
rowing your own food is a full-time job. Our farmstead is like one big ol’ sliding block puzzle, you can’t make a move without it causing a need or chore in the next block. Right now with frost imminent, the prioritizing of what to do first has changed. Mostly what will freeze, what will take freezing, and do I want to be wet or wetter. Now that the wet is here on an almost daily basis, I can concentrate on the hoophouses a little or actually a lot. Yesterday it was the final pepper harvest. Over the weekend I picked the remaining tomatoes, saved a few green ones, pulled the plants, and canned the lot of ripe ones. Now the only warm weather crops left to work on are the peppers and Styrian Naked Seed pumpkins. Apples and pears are looming off in the distance but luckily don’t spoil too fast so they are kind of on the back burner.
Besides just harvesting, I need to put away tomato clips, pepper stakes and tags and pull mulch and soaker hoses.
Despite our USDA garden zone designation implying that we can grow warm weather crops here, I have to say the heat unit factor comes up time and again in the discussion if you want to actually harvest many ripe warm weather crops like peppers, melons, and tomatoes on a predictable basis. Enter hoophouses. What we don’t have here in the summer are warm summer nights, sure a few times, but I don’t keep flannel sheets year round on the bed for nothing…
I haven’t varied my variety selection in the pepper department too much. I like productive types that will ripen and true to form, I have a mix of open-pollinated and hybrid varieties.
The pepper list this year:
Flavorburst F1 – Johnny’s Selected Seeds. This one always does well for us, huge, thick-walled, and SWEET.
AceF1 - Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Ace is the first green pepper of the summer for us, and if you can stay out of them, they will turn red
Padron – Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Padron is delicious and very prolific. When we could eat no more, I let them ripen and made hot pepper sauce – excellent.
Numex Joe E. Parker – Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Of all the peppers we grow, NJEP is my go-to pepper and the one we eat the most of during the winter. If allowed to ripen it becomes sweet and a perfect balance between mildly hot and sweet. And it’s prolific, at least 30 big peppers per plant!
Red Ruffled Pimiento - Seed of Change. I have to say most of these get eaten somewhere between the greenhouse and kitchen, they are delicious!
Now the peppers are harvested, I only have some carrots to dig from this greenhouse, cover the strawberry plants and turn in the sheep for some maintenance grazing/weeding and then I can plant a cover crop and put Greenhouse 1 to bed for the winter.