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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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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
 
IFsjeDI.jpg

 
 

Pretty impressive ;)
 
And those steaks looked great too!  I haven't cooked them that way in a while, now I'm hungry!
 
One thing I do is buy a prime cut Ribeye roast when they go on sale. They trim a lot of the fat off the sides that they normally leave on their steaks. I chunk the roast in the freezer and let it get a bit stiff so it's easy to cut into steaks. They cut them 1 1/4" thick and freeze them. A 10lb roast is a bit pricey, but we save like 3 bucks a pound, versus buying the steaks.
 
 
Pods are getting harder to find all the time. It's always so dark in there and it's so thick. I've considered wearing a head light but there's so little room in there. I imagine I would only break off more pods, flowers and branches.  Maybe it would be worthwhile if peppers grew with a strip of reflective tape around them. Paul, please work on developing strains that have that trait  ;)
 
The miserable summer heat hasn't been kind to the pepper crop either. Huge areas of the plants suffer from flower drop/no pollination. I hope this gets better as we get closer to autumn.
 
Here's the pickings from this morning. Almost 3 pounds of tomatoes and 6.5 pounds of peppers before the first cull.
 
As for the season to date, I've put 12 quarts of marinara sauce in the freezer, made 10 quarts of delicious dried tomatoes and we're eating all the tomatoes we can possibly enjoy.
 
I have a few pounds of dried green beans and summer squash put up for Lia plus she's been eating 100 grams a day of food processor pureed raw beans and squash a day since the June 1.
 
I've prepped 18.9 kilos of peppers for the dehydrator that (dried to around 4%) has yielded an average of 12.43% finished product. I'm also eating all the fresh peppers I can stand. My diet in summer consists of whatever tastes good with a couple of sliced up superhots on it. I've also been spreading a few around to friends and family.
 
 
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Man, DWB. It's been a beast of a season for you so far. Must be full time work keeping up with processing those harvests, but should really pay off in the off-season.  Did you decide to just let the peppers keep pushing up the shade cloth as they grow?  
 
Those overgrown paths through your pepper field remind me of mountain bike trails up here as the season progresses - wish ours were overgrown with peppers though rather than stringing stinging nettles!
 
EDIT - Stringing nettles I could probably deal with.
 
Well done sir!
 
I run into the same issues with the heat and fruit setting..er not. This time of the year I could let them run until December, or pull them. I've already been putting my garden down for the rest of the season, because I start in late November with sowing the pepper seeds..
 
They will put on a ton of fruit again as it cools, but then you get no rest..LOL
 
Me and the garden need some time off. I was shredding a few in the chipper/shredder today, and when I put the hotter ones in it, it was like opening the lid of a super hot puree batch. I had to step away :shh: ;)
 
Please explain how you dry the tomatoes, I've never done that. A dehydrator?
 
CaneDog said:
Man, DWB. It's been a beast of a season for you so far. Must be full time work keeping up with processing those harvests, but should really pay off in the off-season.  Did you decide to just let the peppers keep pushing up the shade cloth as they grow?  
 
Those overgrown paths through your pepper field remind me of mountain bike trails up here as the season progresses - wish ours were overgrown with peppers though rather than stringing stinging nettles!
 
EDIT - Stringing nettles I could probably deal with.
 
Yep, the pepper patch and everything that goes with it does keep me rather busy but it's nice work.
 
I've loosened the shade cloth ties so the plants can push up higher without bending so much. And they sure are pushing it up. Maybe my growth shot for this week will be from above again. Some of the plants that have clear access to the sky are over 8' now. I'm afraid to do too much with the shade ceiling. May need a bucket truck to harvest from later on in the year.
 
I don't think I know about stinging nettles but if they're anything like cactus, they can't be fun.

 
 
Devv said:
Well done sir!
 
I run into the same issues with the heat and fruit setting..er not. This time of the year I could let them run until December, or pull them. I've already been putting my garden down for the rest of the season, because I start in late November with sowing the pepper seeds..
 
They will put on a ton of fruit again as it cools, but then you get no rest..LOL
 
Me and the garden need some time off. I was shredding a few in the chipper/shredder today, and when I put the hotter ones in it, it was like opening the lid of a super hot puree batch. I had to step away :shh: ;)
 
Please explain how you dry the tomatoes, I've never done that. A dehydrator?
 
Thanks Scott. I gotta ride this garden hard until I beat all the life out of it. This is the first year kick off for a commercial project so I need good mileage.
 
I did some shredding today too. I cleaned about a yard of decomposing leaves and pine straw off a barn roof yesterday. I shredded it with the Kubota today. It took about 5 minutes to knock seven heaping loads in my big wheeliebarrow down to  one well shredded load, plus change. With the grass clippings from yesterday and a few loads of horse poo, I added a nice bit to my newest compost pile that was born on July 1. I stuck my hand down in it yesterday and it's cooking along nicely in there. I made some more grass clipping today for another layer. Never short on horse poo but I'm running out of handy leaves to shred for the third ingredient.
 
Yes, I do the "sun-dried" tomatoes in a dehydrator. Slice or chunk them up, season with some salt and basil and run at 130° until dry. They're great as tomato chips and can be reconstituted for cooking. That's easy. Just throw them in the pot with some extra water.
 
GvpIKWY.jpg
 
I also just read the first 20 pages, wow some great work here DWB.
 
 
 
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
 
IFsjeDI.jpg

 
 
Also, is that a Moluccan Lory that I spot in the top right?
 
 
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Spork said:
I also just read the first 20 pages, wow some great work here DWB.
 
 
 
 
Also, is that a Moluccan Lory that I spot in the top right?
 
 
Good eye Spork. I never saw that bird when I took the picture or looked at it ever since. It looks like a cardinal. We have a lot of them around here.
 
Thanks for the kind words.
 
Naked plants. Lets see how they like the full sun. Shade cloth is now removed for the duration and that was a job. The strings and cloth were all twangled up in the plants. I tried to minimize the damage but really, I can't even crawl around in there without tearing up stuff. It's like a 1000 ft² uniplant. I wonder if I should prune back to create some walkway working space? Although it's still making major poddage at ground level, pretty soon the huge action is gonna be at mid level and above. There's major flowering going on up high.
 
lqrPHZ6.jpg
 
DWB said:
Naked plants. Lets see how they like the full sun. Shade cloth is now removed for the duration and that was a job. The strings and cloth were all twangled up in the plants. I tried to minimize the damage but really, I can't even crawl around in there without tearing up stuff. It's like a 1000 ft² uniplant. I wonder if I should prune back to create some walkway working space? Although it's still making major poddage at ground level, pretty soon the huge action is gonna be at mid level and above. There's major flowering going on up high.
 
lqrPHZ6.jpg
I don’t even know what to say about the insane growth on your hay bale patch plants! Seeing it motivates me to be a better gardener.


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