The Great Pepper Experiment – Results

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Last summer I grew pepper plants in pots instead of in the main garden. Of course, being who I am, I couldn’t just grow pepper plants, I had to turn it into an experiment. I had space for 6 pots along my fence and I had 12 pepper plants that I had started from seed. Plant 2 per pot you say? Nah, that’s too easy. I decided to instead do two pots with one plant each (a bell pepper and a jalapeno pepper), two pots with two peppers, and two pots with three peppers. All summer when I picked a pepper I kept a record of what plant it came from, and this is what I saw.

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As you can see, it’s sort of what you would expect. I had the most peppers from the plants that were by themselves in a pot, and when more plants we together I got less and less pepper production. You can also see that it wasn’t a very well replicated or scientifically sound experiment, and I had more jalapeno plants than bell peppers, but I still found it interesting. The jalapeno all by itself produced almost 100 peppers, whereas the ones sharing produced almost half that! So it’s probably worthwhile to plant them alone and let them thrive. The bell pepper plants produced less, but still not 50% less so maybe it’s OK to plant two in a pot? Qualitatively though I could tell they weren’t happy with three in a pot. Some of the peppers had brown rotting spots on them, and they did not get as big. All in all it was a delicious experiment, and this year I’ve got some in the main garden, and some in pots.

Now get out there and plant some peppers!
Have you ever grown peppers in pots? How did they do?

July Garden Tour

We’ve been having nearly 100 degree heat the past week or so and the garden is love love loving it. Here’s a little tour! It’s amazing how much has changed since my June 1 garden tour.

Tomatoes loving the heat.

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Broccoli. Wishing I got it in earlier because this heat’s not doing it any favours.

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The first few roma VF tomatoes.

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Pepper experiment is looking awesome! They are also loving the heat. So far I’d say no differences between the pepper sizes, however they are about to that size where the competition within a pot of multiple peppers might be starting to matter. Soon we’ll have peppers coming out our ears!

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The first bell pepper.

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The first jalapeno.

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More tomatoes. I am really making an effort to prune this year and keep them better guided into their cages than in previous years. I think it’s going well.

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The whole yard. I think I do pretty well with the little space I have 🙂

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Pretty purple pole beans.

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Climb climb climb.

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More tomatoes, basil, and calendula.

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The chaos of a calendula, tomatoes that grew from seed on their own, and some dill that also grew on it’s own.

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Brandywine tomato.

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Carrots and cucs.

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The cucumbers are also loving this heat. I planted the exact same cucumbers as the last two years, like from the same exact seed packet, and the leaves of these plants are HUGE compared to last year. It’s going to be a gooooood cuc year.

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Massive zuch!

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Beets that really need to be eaten.

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Indigo rose tomatoes.

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Peas are dying, so I’m going to pull them shortly and plant some more beans. I’m definitely doing a better jobs at succession planting this year too.

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And that’s all folks! Having a good garden year?

June 1 Garden Tour

Wow – June already!? How time flies. The garden is all planted and I’m so ready for summer, so I thought I’d give you a little tour of this year’s garden. 14 tomato plants this year, which I am super excited about, but unfortunately since I plant so many I don’t really rotate my crops. Sigh – one day I’ll have some land and do this right! I think I do pretty well with the space I have though.

Up first – tomatoes of course. My first year starting from seed was an awesome success. I mulched around them with grass last time we cut the grass.

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More tomatoes and a ton of broccoli. Unfortunately I planted much later than I wanted for the broccoli, so hopefully it doesn’t bolt.

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Tomato, spinach, lettuce, beans and peas. And the gigantic parsley that survived the winter.

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Peas and beets.

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Lettuce and spinach in boxes. The lettuce seems much happier than the spinach.

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Peppers in pots! I am excited about this because I ended up turning it into an experiment. Yep, I’m a dork like that. I got pretty big (16″, 32 quarts of dirt) pots, and thought, “I wonder if I could grow multiple peppers in each pot and still get a good yield?” So being the dork I am, decided I’d grow 1, 2 or 3 peppers per pot and track the yield to find out. Stay tuned!!


One pepper per pot – King if the North bell pepper and jalapeno.

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Three peppers per pot. Obviously going to be more crowded than recommended, but how will the yield compare to a pepper with its own pot?

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Carrots and cucs.

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Potato box.

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Self seeded tomatoes and dill woo woo.

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How’s your garden growing?

July Garden Tour

I just can’t get over how the garden looks compared to what it looked like one month ago today, in my June garden update. And also compared to last year things are much further along!

The side garden has 4 tomato plants, but they appear to have merged into one mega bush. The peas are basically done, and I will replant those for a fall crop this weekend.


The zucchini is out of control. Time for some more relish soon I think!!


The potatoes have all died back, so I’ll harvest those this week and see what we’ve got. I will likely replant and see what I can get for a second crop too.


Even this tomato, which is only in a 6 inch deep raised bed with pretty rocky and gross soil is kicking butt! I think I can only credit the climate and my ability to water for these successes, I’m not sure what all I’m doing right!


The fig tree that was killed by the cold winter is starting to resurrect!


We’ve got beans and basil galore.


Tons of carrots are ready, and the cucumbers are heading up the trellis. Can’t wait to make some more of these pickled carrots.


Adorable pickling cucs!


I have some mondo beets that I really need to pick. Maybe I’ll make more pickled beets or just grill them up with one of these recipes.


And the kale has been a little neglected as well. Excellent kale salad recipe coming your way soon. Or I’ll make some kale smoothies.


And my pride and joy, more tomatoes!


One of the San marzano plants is actually taller than me!! (not that I’m that tall, ya ya let the short jokes come in). Although, since I fail at pruning (and by that I mean I don’t even try), they are a lot of leaves and maybe not as many maters as there could be. But I can’t really say I expect any sort of shortage 😉


How is your garden looking? Is there anything you are drowning in or anything that isn’t doing so hot? Got any great zucchini recipes you want to share??

Garden update, and more on the potato box!

I have been meaning to do this update for aaaaggees and I’m not sure why it keeps getting delayed. And every time I go to do it the plants have grown even more and I need to take new pictures. It’s crazy how fast everything is growing! So here we go finally, the first day of summer and the garden is booming!

The peas have reached the top of the fence and are going crazy 🙂 We’ve also got 4 tomatoes and the zucchinis in the side garden.

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The first zucchini of the season is growing! Look at that cutie pie.

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I’ve harvested my rhubarb twice already and look at it! Many more rhubarb treats still to come. I’m not sure if it’s the climate here or what, but rhubarb grows amazingly well.

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I went for 4 tomatoes in the front of the house, and more throughout the raised beds, 12 in total. This year I did lots of romas, san marzano and grand marzano, then 1 grape tomato, an early girl, and an Oregon spring. Lots of canning in my future! Last year the san marzanos were amazing so I am super excited for them again this year.

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But speaking of tomatoes, we did have one problem with our tomatoes last year. Man! While I don’t claim to be an expert gardener by any means, I will make one recommendation here from what I learned. If you haven’t already, get out there and mix some lime into your soil. Quickly! Like now before even finishing reading this! The picture below is blossom end rot, and it can be caused either by calcium deficiency or inconsistent watering. I definitely watered those babies well, like obsessively well, so I think I must have had a calcium issue. I guess low calcium in the soil prevents plants from absorbing other nutrients properly. Determinate tomatoes are more prone to getting end rot because the tomatoes all come in at once, creating more stress on the plant. You can just cut the end off if it’s not affecting the whole tomato, but I am really hoping I limed enough to avoid it this year.

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And here is the whole yard! I’ve got lettuce for days!

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OK, now let’s talk about the potato box! The idea behind growing potatoes in a box is that as the greenery grows up taller, you mound the dirt around them, add more layers of box, and presto, you’ve got potatoes! It’s a great way to grow potatoes, especially in a small area, mine is only 2 feet by 2 feet. When I first decided to build one, I tried finding others who had success with it. I watched a bunch of youtube videos of excited gardeners opening up their boxes, and most of them were complete failures! Very few or no potatoes 😦 So, instead of realizing maybe it doesn’t work, and deciding not to build one, I thought I’d see if it would work for me. We shall see! Last year I got them started a little too late, but still had some potatoes, so I am excited to see how it works out this year. They sure are growing lots of leaves, hopefully there are taters under there!

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My other beds include more tomatoes, peppers, beans, herbs, edamame, beets and stevia. I also have a bunch of dill growing in random places because I had some go to seed in the garden last year. It’s going to be ready way before the pickling cucs, dang it! And it looks like I forgot a picture of my beety delciousness. Next time I guess!

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The marigolds I started from seed aren’t too happy, but I’m hoping they start busting out soon.

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And the alyssum I also started from seed. They were looking teeny and pathetic, so I planted them anyways… now they just look weird and sad. So we’ll see what happens there too. They have a few flowers, but look kind of weird. Not sure what went wrong, oh well.

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Cucs and carrots. These babies are looking good 🙂 I could have got the carrots in a little sooner than I did, but oh well, we’ll have lots soon.

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OK wow, I realize there were a lot of exclamation points in there. But I am so excited for summer!! YAY GARDEN! This year I stuck with mostly tried and true favorites, with the addiction of stevia and edamame. What are you growing? Any new adventurous plants?

Happy Spring!

Spring is here! Spring is here!! Spring is here!!!

I’ve always said that summer was my favourite season, but this spring with the anticipation of planting my garden, getting back into canning pretty much every week, and starting up on this season’s field work, I am tempted to say I have a new favourite season. The daffodils are all coming up, the trees are starting to flower and smell amazing, and now and then we actually get some sunshine. I apologize to those of you out east – but here, dare I say I think it’s spring.

I thought the first day of spring would make a great day for my first gardening post. A tour of the little plots of land that I have, what I plan to do with them this year, and that sort of thing. So here it is, my front yard. If you don’t know me, we live in a duplex where we only have a front yard, but it’s at the very end of a cul-de-sac so we have full sun all the time which makes it a great area to garden. So here is the grand tour! In my yard I have a few raised beds, and the front of the house area. The beds are 4ftx8ft, 4ftx4ft and 2 that are 3ftx8ft. Then that little box is 2×2 and I plan to do potatoes in that. The front of the house bed is abut 12ftx3.5ft. Then I have a triangle ish area by the side of the house (pictured next) that is probably 40-45 square feet. So all in all I have about 180 square feet, if my math is okay. Not too bad for such a small little yard and only in the front! 🙂


The side yard is a weird shape and not ideal , but I make do. The landlord built a fence around it so it’s more shady than I’d like, but I will do my best to put more shade tolerant plants over here. Excuse the weeds, planting time isn’t quite here yet…

So what have I done so far to get ready for another great year? I’m so glad you asked! I’ve started planning everything I want to plant this year and have done a few early seed starts. I pulled out all my leftover seeds from last year, and bought a bunch more, here they are!

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It’s still early so I’m trying not to be over excited, but I did start some things that I know can handle a bit of cold. So far I started a bunch of lettuce, beets, spinach, kale, peas, herbs and some flowers – alyssum and marigolds. In the past I haven’t done a lot of seed starts, but it’s a nice way to get things going. My beets did quite poorly last year so I’m hoping this will help. So here are the babies only about 5 days after I started them. I can’t start many more, my window sill is full!

The peas are starting to poke out their little heads. I don’t normally start peas, just direct seed them, but it’s still quite cold at night at the garden is kinda soggy so I thought why not!

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Beets! So adorable!

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Another thing that can go in this early is potatoes. I got my “seed potatoes” ready to go. I have that in quotations simply because these are potatoes I found in the back of my cupboard and thought, “sweet, I forgot these were there, what perfect timing, I will plant them.” Don’t let the garden centre fool you, seed potatoes are just potatoes. ha! Anyways they are cut and being planted this week.

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And last but not least, for things already started and growing – brace yourself for some rhubarb recipes, look how big it already is!

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Awesome, spring is here and I’m ready to plant! So let’s take a quick look back at last year’s garden. Spoiler alert – this jungle is what my front yard will look like in a few months. This shot is from mid August last year. You really can produce an amazing amount in such a small area and even with fairly shallow beds (mine were only 6-8 inches, but more discussion on this later!)

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So what’s on my list for this year?
Tomatoes – millions of them. OK that may be slight hyperbole, but I can’t get enough of them. They are probably the most versatile thing when it comes to canning, and though you have to wait all season for them, they are a great bang for your buck in terms of how expensive they are at a farmer’s market, and how many of them you use if you can them for salsas and sauces.
Zucchini – although maybe less than last year.
Lettuce, kale and spinach – gotta get those greens!
Potatoes – I am trying the potato box again. It was moderately successful last year so here’s take 2! Basically as they grow larger you add another layer and build it up to get more taters.
Beets – I love ’em!
Carrots – maybe, they were delicious last year, but take a long time
Peppers and onions – probably cutting this year as they take a lot of space and effort for the price of them at the market or farm stand
Beans – It’s my nickname from my sister and who doesn’t love beans! Also my very first canning project
Pickling cucumbers – Check out that sweet trellis I built for growing them vertically.
Lots and lots of spices

OK – I’m sure I forgot something, but such is life! There will be more posts 🙂
Do you have a small garden space that you are trying to utilize efficiently? What are you planting this year?