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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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So all I need is a hearing aid :rofl:?

Glad to see you are in recovery mode.
I hope the manufacturer made good on
your hospital bills.
Thanks for the good wishes Paul.

The hearing aid people weren't quite as forthcoming as our "family" ENT and his doctor of audiology. What they said about blast wave damage to one ear scared the bejeezus outta me. It's bad juju.

Stuff rolls downhill. It begins with the retailer, then goes to the parts assembler who puts it together and sticks brand name on it and then to the offshore holding company that owns the brand and so on. It will be awhile before anyone pays anything but my attorney is looking for a whole helluva lot more than medical expenses. He seems to think the buck may stop at Homelite rather than go on downhill all the way past the parts supplier and ultimately to the manufacturer of the wheel. Time will tell.


Extreme Member
Hey, Dee Dubya, good luck with all that. I hate the legal cans
of worms. Seems like obfuscation is the name of the game.

Sorry you have to deal with the aftermath, but glad that you
are bouncing back. Next season will hopefully be much less
eventful, and more fruitful. Let me know what I can do to help
make that a reality.
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That North Georgia Candy Roaster squash kicks butt. I started a few seeds in gallon pots in August. After I finally sprayed enough times to kill off that stinking gripeweed that went totally out of control over the summer, I put one of them in the ground late in September just for giggles. It's an amazing plant. I started pinching it and turning it back on itself early on to keep it compact but it still got huge.


If we go a couple more weeks without a hard freeze, I should get fruit to maturity. I looked a bit yesterday and found some that are 15" or so already. I'm covering it up with a frost blanket on cold nights.


Mass quantities of oak leaves are a little harder to gather this year thanks to the 'cane Sally tree losses but we're starting to bury the garden under a foot of horse poop and leaves. We're hoping for a lack of new disasters so I can grow a good crop of peppers again next year.

The hand is working fairly well after the explosion so that's a blessing. It still hurts but that may be forever. It looks like I'll be well compensated for the pain and losing my summer. The materials analyst found defects in the wheel that included air pockets/bubbles and even some foreign substances that were introduced during the manufacturing process. He said the flaws, over time and under pressure caused the failure. He's conducting different testing on the unexploded sister wheel to determine if it has similar flaws.

Edit: The old mama plants are still outside ripening a whole bunch of pods. I cover them up with frost covers most nights and add a tarp on scary nights. I've added a 40 watt bulb on the few nights I stoked up the fire in the wood stove. When it looks like we have a hard freeze coming in I'll repot, cut them back and put them away in the hillbilly winter shelter for the duration.
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I think I'm okay with compost for a while. The 6 yard load of shredded tree trimmings the power company line crew dumped after the hurricane last year has melted down very nicely.



I also have two buckets of solid black soldier fly compost they've been making for me for a couple of years. It's amazing how much those critters can eat. By the time I clean out what's in the bottoms of the 15 gallon buckets the 5's sit in, I should have a full 10 gallons of this stuff. I guess I need to spend it and start over next season. Disgusting stuff but it should be really rich. I bet the pepper plants will love it.

Anybody still think climate change is a conspiracy theory? Here's the tippy-top of a budding 65' Yellow Poplar I just knocked down to get it out of the way of the soon to come new septic tank drainfield.

Hey tree, here's a news flash... it's not spring yet.



Extreme Member
Our unseasonably warm nights this year have caused similar
things to happen here, Dee-Dubya. Growth buds which will
be ready for the first freeze to knock them back. No freeze,
yet, in our neighborhood. We are way past first frost date.
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I was going to go for another jungle this year but life started getting in the way again. Don't mean it won't happen but does mean it won't happen as designed. We started getting everything ready last year and it was looking good. I started all the plants in January. Everything on schedule.

On Feb 10 this little girl went down. I wasn't sure what happened but our very experienced vet who's been taking care of our "kids" for 30+ years knew within 30 seconds it was a back problem. A quick xray confirmed it. A problem with a disk. Doubtless my fault because I always let her jump out of the back of the SUV with the back seat folded flat. A high jump to the ground for a 12 year old with an already known back problem. This was not a huge deal but he also noticed an odd shadow on the xray. It didn't look good to me either. He had one of his helper vets who specializes in ultrasound come in and do that. She confirmed some sort of a tumor.

David referred us to the new Gulf Shores branch of the Auburn University Veterinary Teaching Hospital for further diagnostics. This all took a while but to make a long story short, we go to the big house up in Auburn next Monday so babygirl can have her right adrenal gland containing a rather large pheochromocytoma surgically removed. This is fondly referred to as an "incidentaloma" because it is extremely rare for one to be found ante-mortem. They call it serendipitous.

Within days of going down with the acute back pain from the disk problem, Lia was back to normal and is doing great. She's healthy and happy and all built up for the surgery and we're prepping her with a very special medication to ensure the best outcome. Even though it's a risky surgery with the deformed adrenal pressing up against the vena cava, the surgical team and the hospital itself is world-class so everyone is expecting a good outcome.

So anyway, I had to slow everything down with the plants because we had no idea what was gonna happen and when it would happen. We just knew Lia immediately moved to the top of the priority list for the duration. Being too early to plant out without the care the plants deserve and risk of total loss due to very high potential of oddball weather these days, I just slowed them down even further. They're still in the nursery, under lights and I'm playing with them to best learn how to ensure their survival until we return from our trip of unknown length to the hospital. We leave on the 18th, admit her into the hospital the next day and she has her surgery on the 20th. Time in the hospital is a minimum of 2-4 days. We hope to be home by the 25th. A bit of a late start for a proper jungle to start digging the feet into the ground but we'll see how it goes. First things first.


Extreme Member
Sorry to read this news @DWB. Best of luck to you and your little girl. Plant jungle can wait just a bit. Keep us posted.


Extreme Member
+1 DR, really sad to hear the news, but hopeful
that they can perform the surgery successfully.
Our furry friends have such big hearts.
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Thanks y'all. I think the babygirl will be good and I'm hoping my plants will be too. If we get back by the 25th, it should be no problem.

I have most of the plants in the fabric sock pots and some are in plastic pots. Then they're in shallower tubs and those are in the usual larger, deep tubs I use. The gangs of sock pots are bricked up solid with roots. I top-watered everything today until I filled the shallower tubs. Seven gallons for around 100 plants. All this standing water should wick up and be gone in 4-5 days. After that, they'll just have to hang tough and make do with what they have in their growing mix.

I've also cut the day length from 10 hours on down to 8 and I'm debating with myself if I should turn off the fans so the plants don't transpire as much. Somehow, I'm thinking that's a bad idea.

I sure am glad I've been working at keeping these plants small but healthy for a while now. The rubber friction wheel on my light mover broke Friday and I didn't have time to deal with going to town, etc. I raised the light, made it stationary and rearranged the plants accordingly. If I had that larger nursery area full of huge plants, I'd be screwed.
She made it through surgery. None of the ultrasound studies were exactly right so it was a bit of a different situation than expected. The main surgeon handled it and called in another to help him. Three hour surgery. The tumor was into the vena cava and that made it a whole new ballgame. The doctor prepped us for the worst immediately after the surgery. At 24 hours out, she was still with us and they say she's doing remarkably well. They're quietly talking about possibly discharging her today but as of last night they still hadn't transitioned her off IV pain meds to pills so that's not gonna happen. We saw her yesterday and we won't allow it since she's at such high risk of throwing a fatal clot for three days but I think we'll be going home Saturday.


Extreme Member
Great news DW. I agree, I wouldn't be in a rush to check her out of the hospital either. There's no better place to be if something unexpected arises. Safe travels home - keep us posted.
After a long talk with the surgeon, we took her out of the hospital and brought her to where we live this week. He thinks she'll do much better with us but we can bring her back at any time if need be. Indeed, she's a whole world of better now than she was yesterday. We'll head for home tomorrow or Sunday morning if everything looks good.


Everybody's happy. Time to breathe again.

We got home yesterday. The girl is doing great. Stoned to the bone on opiates (for next few days) and resting all the time except when eating, drinking and going out to pee.. She even pooped this morning for the first time since before the surgery. She will heal quickly like this. If she doesn't throw a clot, we're home free. What a blessing. Auburn is so awesome. They did us right and gave us a list. Fourteen people were directly involved in her surgery.

My plants also made it and are doing very nicely. I took them out for hardening now. There are a more that won't fit in my wagon but this is the main crop for the year. Amish Paste and Yellow Naga Brain Strain.


The beans, winter squash and zucchini are coming up nicely. I planted them into the ground just before we left.