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2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

I've been a member for a while but never posted a grow log. My usual garden is too boring for that. I use 20-30 pots and overwinter my mama plants in a hillbilly winter shelter. Our ground here isn't good for in soil gardening and I've not been enthused enough to undertake the work and expense to build raised beds.
 
Now I have my peppers working the way I want and have the need for a much larger grow to supply a project. The main peppers I'll grow will be reaper, douglah and fatalii. For a couple of years I'll do hay bale gardens and heap tons of organic trash into the area. I have monumental amounts of pine straw, oak leaves and bonfire ash every year to dump in the walkways. I think this will do a world of good to make this new garden area mo'betta for eventual in ground growing.
 
I closed off a 38x38 patch in the NE field that gets full sun. This is the area I chose. The big painted guy is my fertilizer supplier.
 
The little painted guy is my running buddy and load inspector.
 
 
 

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The jungle is a whole different world for pests compared to my usual 30 pot pepper garden. In fact, I have no pest problems in my usual garden place by the house where I have all my mother plants and a whole bunch more. 20 pots and a row of bales. Life was simple when all I had to worry about was the occasional tomato hornworm. All I ever used before was a duster full of DE. Now I'm amassing a freakin' arsenal.
 
I guess it's about time I started paying closer attention. I've been really concerned about the stink bugs but there's a whole lot more going on out there than that.
 
Whenever I pick or do anything else with the plants, I also have an extra bucket with me where I put anything that's not perfect. A week ago I started dumping all the waste fruit in a 15 gallon "tea" bucket rather than the usual household compost pile. I also dumped bunch of very old bulk herbs I needed to get rid of and fed the bucket some nitrogen and some water.
 
It didn't take long to see crews of slugs climbing up the side of the bucket. I'm assuming they were responsible for some of the more rotted tomatoes. I ordered me some slug bait which should be here soon.
 
xi2YcHt.jpg

 
Now I've become interested in what is actually inside damaged fruit. I found an earwig in a tomato today. The armyworms are an ongoing problem even though I've sprayed with BT or Spinosad fairly regularly. I haven't paid much attention to what makes the holes in some of the pepper pods so I started looking in there, too. Today I found a big ol' armyworm all fat and happy inside a reaper pod. I need to pick it up with the BT and soap spraying. As I mentioned earlier, I bought me a gallon of Southern Ag BT for cheap so I can make it rain BT. I found some eggs under a leaf last weekend and thought they were stinker eggs. Nope. I looked today and they hatched armyworms.
 
I found one of these today but can't find another. I've never actually seen an aphid before but I'm wondering if this may be an aphid. Bad picture with my phone because of the wind and the critter being lively and the fact I'm not worth a hoot at taking one-handed pictures with a phone. If you click the pic and scroll it zooms in bigtime but it's still a lousy picture. Sorry. I'm hunting another one I can actually get into the house and take a pic with the Nikon.
 
A9StpWZ.jpg

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It seems the more you grow, the more you have to share. :crazy: That and you created a saaweeet habitat for them with all that goodness you have in the garden...
 
I'm thinking the longer one grows in the same place the more the "eaters" settle in and rev up their game. This is one reason why I'm already pulling plants. I do have enough produce :dance:
 
The leaf footed leaf hoppers come in this time of year and pretty much ruin everything anyways...like 60-75% of ripe peppers this time of the year. So I like to starve them..LOL
 
Good luck!
 
 
 
CaneDog said:
That looks like, as PaulG would say, "a little Jimminy Cricket."
 
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/71003-canedog-2019-hirsute-pursuit-rocotos-wilds-moar/?p=1636585
 
I just leave them be.
 
 
PS.  Those things crawling around the bucket don't look like slugs to me.  They have legs.  :shocked:
 
 
Good point CD. I guess I don't see so well anymore. It also may explain why I haven't caught any slugs in my beer traps ;)  I wonder if they really made it into the tea bucket inside the tomatoes? I first saw them climbing up the side the day after I started dumping defective tomatoes in there.
 
Edit: Yes, they, whatever they are, did arrive in the tomatoes. I gloved up and cut open a few more of those stinkers I fished out of the soup. I found two that were dead and two that were alive inside of tomatoes. One of them was white. I also found two more live earwigs inside of tomatoes
 
I remember that picture you posted. I thought it was wild because the antennae were so much longer than the cricket itself.
 
Devv said:
It seems the more you grow, the more you have to share. :crazy: That and you created a saaweeet habitat for them with all that goodness you have in the garden...
 
I'm thinking the longer one grows in the same place the more the "eaters" settle in and rev up their game. This is one reason why I'm already pulling plants. I do have enough produce :dance:
 
The leaf footed leaf hoppers come in this time of year and pretty much ruin everything anyways...like 60-75% of ripe peppers this time of the year. So I like to starve them..LOL
 
Good luck!
 
 
 
I think I've seen a couple of the leaf footed bugs but I wasn't able to capture one for ID.
 
I always harvest pods from my pepper pots up until I hack them back for the winter shelter. This year I didn't do it until mid-January and then needed 2 buckets to finish ripening  what was left on the branches. This year I'm definitely growing for huge volume so I gotta fight all these bastards. It's primetime pepper season for the next few months for me.
 
Thanks for that Paul. I believe that's what they are using several methods of confirmation. We do have BSF around here although I never knew what they are. We get one flying around in the house on occasion. It's also a relief to know these BSF are simply laying eggs in previously damaged tomatoes and it's not another pest I need to fight. I wonder if some of these escaping larvae will return home to the mother bucket for laying more eggs when I leave it uncovered?
 
I've never seen one of the other bugs. No idea what that is but happy to know it's not one of the dreaded aphids.
 
I did finally catch a slug. Two actually. One in this beer trap and a small one along with a big ol' earthworm in another.
 
I think my worst pepper pest for a while may be the armyworms. I went through everything today and didn't find a stink bug but found two more armyworms all nice and cozy inside of pods.
 
qi7hdpJ.jpg
 
That sucks about the army worms, DW. 
 
The maggots will pupate and emerge as BSF adults,
which may very well possibly just decide to live in
your yuk pail!
 
PaulG said:
Those things crawling up the side of the bucket
look like Black Soldier Fly larva.

Yeah, maggots

Also, the white thing is not an aphid. They have
fat abdomens. Maybe some kind of leaf hopper?
 
The Soldier fly is a decomposer. Yes, it is a maggot, but they do pretty much the same work as worms. No typical maggot odors. They hang out in my kitchen waste-compost bin and just speed things up.
 
 
Devv said:
 
The Soldier fly is a decomposer. Yes, it is a maggot, but they do pretty much the same work as worms. No typical maggot odors. They hang out in my kitchen waste-compost bin and just speed things up.
 
 
They are probably the some of best decomposers
around. They are being touted das a protein source
for the future. An acre of BSF would produce something
like 16,000 or 160,000 pounds of protein versus less than
one tenth that much from livestock (I'm pulling from memory 
here, so check these facts out if you want), and you would
be getting rid off enormous quantities of organic waste at
the same time.
 
For a great vid, check this out. There are some companion
videos that are listed as well.
 
I still have plenty of those critters coming out of the soup. Looks like I have regular maggots too. I dunno, I'm not really up on my vermin.
 
I found more old herbs to dump in there this morning. It smelled too awful to spend a lot of time stirring that boiling slop with a stick.
 
89omdfv.jpg
 
PaulG said:
 
They are probably the some of best decomposers
around. They are being touted das a protein source
for the future. I don't want to be part of that future, I'll stick to ribeyes! :D :beer:  An acre of BSF would produce something
like 16,000 or 160,000 pounds of protein versus less than
one tenth that much from livestock (I'm pulling from memory 
here, so check these facts out if you want), and you would
be getting rid off enormous quantities of organic waste at
the same time.
 
For a great vid, check this out. There are some companion
videos that are listed as well.
 

 
 
DWB said:
I still have plenty of those critters coming out of the soup. Looks like I have regular maggots too. I dunno, I'm not really up on my vermin.
 
I found more old herbs to dump in there this morning. It smelled too awful to spend a lot of time stirring that boiling slop with a stick.
 
89omdfv.jpg
 

I wish I had a pic to upload of them in my compost bin. But I just built a new one, and the old one is drying out now. I usually have zero odors, unless I really put in more than they can eat. Watch for coons, skunks, opossums, and rats if it's just open for taking..How do I know this? :rolleyes:
 
 
Devv said:
 
I wish I had a pic to upload of them in my compost bin. But I just built a new one, and the old one is drying out now. I usually have zero odors, unless I really put in more than they can eat. Watch for coons, skunks, opossums, and rats if it's just open for taking..How do I know this? :rolleyes:
 
 
I have a regular compost pile too. I never see much going on in there except for earthworms and rolypoly bugs.
 
I just started throwing all the wet sloppy stuff in this 15 gallon bucket to try making some compost tea. I've never done that before. I keep the lid on the bucket unless I'm throwing more goodies in there.
 
I'm with you on the protein sources. Much prefer this to bug juice.
 
http://thehotpepper.com/topic/34237-steak/page-94#entry1583630
 
 
Hey, c'mon guys, it'll taste just like   :drooling:  chicken  :rofl:
 
 
I'm sure the day is far away still. It will be a matter
of necessity, eventually. I love a good filet mignon
or a big ol' T-Bone, too, but the writing is on the wall.
 
Soylent Green, anyone?
 
PaulG said:
Hey, c'mon guys, it'll taste just like   :drooling:  chicken  :rofl:
 
 
I'm sure the day is far away still. It will be a matter
of necessity, eventually. I love a good filet mignon
or a big ol' T-Bone, too, but the writing is on the wall.
 
Soylent Green, anyone?
 
Save the date. Upcoming bug barbecue at Paul's house :drooling:
 
Weekly growth picture. My walkway, designed to accommodate my bigass dual wheel wheelbarrow, is now a crawlspace
 
IFsjeDI.jpg

 
 
DWB said:
 
Save the date. Upcoming bug barbecue at Paul's house :drooling:
 
Weekly growth picture. My walkway, designed to accommodate my bigass dual wheel wheelbarrow, is now a crawlspace
 

 
 
I love seeing all those happy, healthy, pod producing beauties!
 
 
while mine isn't as impressive I feel your pain.  I planned for space to walk and that went away fast.
 
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