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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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I'm psyched to see how big those guys can get now that there's nothing holding them back.  I can't imagine though how you're going to get at all those pods when they're ripening in the high growth or toward the middle of those crazy bushes. Seems like even if you cut them back some to make pathways - maybe even to get a ladder in - they'd still produce as many accessible pods as you'd ever need. Might also help some with air circulation. 
 
You know, it'll be really interesting at the end of the season to see what the roots on those monsters look like.
 
We decided to try one of the butternut squash to see how they're coming along. I picked one with a nice dry stem.
 
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I whacked it in two and the smell was heavenly. I saved the seeds while my wife roasted it. I almost blew it on this shot. Too anxious to get it in the bowl with the butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
 
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I did blow it on the money shot but this will give you an idea of how delicious this thing was. At least I remembered the last picture before I finished it off.
 
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stettoman said:
 
Damn, like the lowlands of the 'Nam...Watch for Mr. Two-Step....hangin' in the canopy....
 
No Mr. Two-Step around here but I definitely watch for Mr Eastern Diamondback. I've never seen one of them up a tree but I know they climb. One was up in the rafters in an open pole barn and fell onto the windshield of one of my cars. Screwed him up bigtime. He had a prolapsed cloaca, went septic and died before  I could find a vet (or anyone else) who had the stones to help me fix him. I was at least one hand short for doing the job of tubing him, holding him, stuffing his insides back inside and putting in a stitch. A shame.
 
 
Devv said:
Just like trimming the hedges... ;)
 
Incredible growth there buddy!
 
The aerial growth shot from this week looks nicer with some air between the rows. I considered bringing out a hedge trimmer but did it the old fashioned way with shears. This will be yet another ongoing addition to my picking routine. Pick a pod, pull a weed, trim a branch. Will only thicken the impenetrable mass and make picking even more difficult but at least I'll be able to move through there without breaking stuff.
 
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I started building a new shit sandwich to serve to the garden the next year. I actually started it three weeks ago with the grass clippings from the far front yard, horse poo and the last of my conveniently procured oak leaves for the year.
 
I let the grass go three weeks before cutting it yesterday and scored a big pile of stuff. About 2 yards of very finely chopped hay. I mow and throw to the middle so it's cut and recut many times over. Made for a big pile. My fertilizer guy Cadi eats his fill but that's only fair since he provides the rest of the mixture. I think it will make some good compost. The pile appears to be blessed by light beams from above :surprised:
 
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DWB said:
The aerial growth shot from this week looks nicer with some air between the rows. 
 
Looks like some kind of crazy pepper grove now.  Perfect angle for the shot.  Looks awesome!
 
DWB said:
The pile appears to be blessed by light beams from above :surprised:
 
Now we know the secret of the Hay Bale Pepper Patch!
 
Seriously though, can't get over how awesome that looks with the plants all trimmed into hedges. Going to make life a bit easier I bet too.
 
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.
 
 
 
 
that's insane how large those plants have grown! im betting they'll get a good bump with the shade removed.  good luck! although you don't need it. :lol:  :mouthonfire:
 
Thanks everybody. I truly appreciate the good words.
 
@CaneDog I'm also very curious about the root systems these things have grown. I think that first excavation will tell me if I should till or simply rake around what very little is left of the original hay bales and pile another foot of horse poo and shredded leaves on top of it over the winter.
 
 
 
DWB said:
 
The tallest are over 9'.
 
Interesting thing... with the exception of some foliar feeding and 5-10 gallon doses of bug spray,  I haven't watered those plants since May.
Wow, if I didn't water mine would be gone in a week. I skipped watering my cloth bags one day last week and they were not happy.
 
Damn that is one big pepper jungle. I've been following your hay bale project since the first post, and it has really took off spectacularly! I'm seriously in awe of that pepper patch. Great job. Also, very jealous of your beautiful pile of poop.
 
DWB said:
 
No Mr. Two-Step around here but I definitely watch for Mr Eastern Diamondback. I've never seen one of them up a tree but I know they climb. One was up in the rafters in an open pole barn and fell onto the windshield of one of my cars. Screwed him up bigtime. He had a prolapsed cloaca, went septic and died before  I could find a vet (or anyone else) who had the stones to help me fix him. I was at least one hand short for doing the job of tubing him, holding him, stuffing his insides back inside and putting in a stitch. A shame.
 
I wonder how much the world would change if we eliminated the venomous snakes and kept the rest...
 
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