Monday, September 23, 2013

Harvest Monday-September 23, 2013

Not too much in the way of a harvest today.  It is a transition time in the central Florida vegetable garden with fall veggies still a ways from harvesting and the last of the spring/summer ones slowing production to almost nothing.  Most of the pepper plants planted in March are looking haggard and will be pulled this week.  Gonna leave some in to try to overwinter in the hopes they restart production in the spring.  In this part of the country, peppers and tomatoes can be kept growing year round, for the most part, although they aren't in fruit production the whole time.  I just pulled a Mountain Magic tomato plant that I planted in the tower garden (an aeroponic setup) last summer.  I, absentmindedly, let the reservoir get low on both water and nutrients while we were in England and, coupled with the heat, it just couldn't recover properly.  This year, I plan to leave two Tabasco peppers, three Yummy Snacking peppers and, possibly, a jalapeño.  All six have grown very tall and lush and are covered in blossoms.  Other than some carpenter ants on the Tabascos, I see no signs of disease or other bugs.

Does any one else keep peppers going throughout the year?  I wonder if pruning and potting them would help or is it better to just leave them and see what happens?  Sounds like another experiment, and I love a good garden experiment!

Here's the small harvest from this rainy Monday morning:

Hot and sweet peppers, many of which were picked as they started the transition from green to red and are, therefore black.  Could have left them to ripen more, but the snails are back in full force and I didn't want to risk losing them.  

Two key limes

Various herbs- from left, clockwise:  chives, oregano, sweet basil, purple basil, Greek columnar basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, and bay.  My tiny bay laurel is looking very rusty, have to look into spraying it.  I'd hate to lose such a beautiful plant.

I apologize for the lighting in these photos.  I picked in a light drizzle of rain and natural light was hard to come by this morning.

I am chomping at the bit to dig up my beds of sweet potatoes but the wet weather is making it impossible for me do that.  If I had planned well, I could have done it Saturday afternoon.  We had a dry day before, but the lawn sprinklers came on and soaked the beds once again.   They say it's best to stop watering prior to digging.  Dry potatoes means less chance of damage to the skins I suppose.  It poured yesterday afternoon and all night last night so, looks like maybe later this week will be my best chance.  Look for a big (hopefully) harvest next Monday!  

As always, harvest Monday is sponsored by Daphne's Dandelions.  Check out her blog and see what everyone else is harvesting this week.  Hope others fared better in their harvesting.

Thanks for reading,


  1. HI Jen! Just found your blog off the comments on Florida Hillbilly. It is so great what you are doing and gives me hope that I can do it as well. It is also great to read about another Central Floridian! We JUST (on 9-11, to boot) Got our new 'Stead, its south Central Fl nearish to the space coast. Who Knew an acre of land could be soooo much, ha. Anyhow, I wanted to pop in and say HI and nice job!
    Good luck with your harvest,

    1. Hi Niki, welcome, and thanks for your comments! We are not too far from you on the east coast, south of the Daytona area. I have several friends who recently moved onto their own homesteads and they are so happy with the move. I would love to have an acre, or two, but am making what I have work. We bought low 14 yrs ago and plan to stay for awhile longer.

      We will have to compare garden notes. I love, love reading everyone else's stuff, and learn a lot, but the seasons/bugs/soil, etc. are so different here, it's like another world!

  2. I've read about some who over winter their pepper plants indoors by potting them up and severely pruning them, so it only makes sense that if you leave yours outside, and they begin to look a bit tattered and tired, a bit of pruning back might possibly help. That's just a guess! I have a small sweet pepper that has been grown in a pot, so I'm contemplating bringing it in and trying to keep it growing and producing all winter. I'll most likely have to provide it with artificial lighting.

    1. I actually got the Tabasco seeds from a friend who has had hers in a pot for two or three years and it's still growing strong. I'll have to find out if she brings it in or not. We only get a few nights of temps below freezing and usually it's only for an hour just before sunrise. There is the oddball hard freeze thrown in for fun. I swear mother nature thinks its funny to watch Floridians try to scrape ice off their windshields with a beach bucket shovel! The tomato plant I over wintered never came in or got covered-even though last year we had a few late freezes towards the end of February. I think the water being constantly circulated onto the roots kept it warmer than the cherry tomatoes in the ground. That one didn't make it past the first freeze.

      I guess it can't hurt to try! I will leave one tabasco in the ground (it's up against the house and fence so it is protected from winds and I will put the other in a pot that can be brought inside if need be. The sweet peppers are in self watering containers that are really heavy so I will leave them and cover them on icy nights. The tomatoes are hard to keep alive, I'll have to see if any survive the bugs and disease. Only the healthiest will remain, Darwinian Gardening at its finest!

  3. Nice looking harvest! When I was in Haiti last summer I saw that people kept their pepper plants as outdoor perennials. The plants looked like medium sized bushes with very woody branches, unlike how they look up here in our northern gardens. I don't know if they were pruned or not.

    1. Interesting! The Tabascos are over 5 feet tall now and the jalapeño is almost there, but getting thick "trunks" and are very bush like. I wonder if they are on their way to becoming a full bush? I guess time will tell, I'm always up for a challenge!

  4. Depending on your winter, some people do succeed in wintering over peppers. Liz (Suburban Tomato)in Australia does so, although they look a little sad by spring. Wish I could do it, my peppers are finally cranking up but we're going to get a killing frost any time now. I do have a Thai pepper and a rosemary in a pot that I am going to try to overwinter in a window.

  5. We still have at least a couple of months, more likely, three before a frost hits. I'll just see what happens! Peppers take so long to start producing and I always am late starting my seeds. We also eat a lot of hot peppers in this house so year round production is so tempting to try.