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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 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.

I finally removed the solid compost from one of my BSF composters. This is what I was able to dump out of the inner 5 gallon bucket/bag. The butterfly showed up minutes after dumping the stuff into the bin and has been back for more many times today. Not exactly nectar but whatever turns his crank is OK with me.


I drained the liquids from the bottom of the composter, rinsed out the 5 gallon inner paint strainer bag and buckets into another 15 gallon bucket and used this to soak some well finished grass clipping/horse manure compost in these bins.


I'm still not sure what to do with this stuff but I'm thinking I'll let it all dry, mix it well and use it to top dress my plants this year. It should be some really wicked fertilizer.

I'm using the large pile of my more conventional compost (shown in post 965 previous page) to dig into my planting holes this year.
Glad your dog is OK man! I didn't read back far enough to see what happened with the lawyers and the explosion you were talking about. I will have to get in here and work back a few pages.
Glad your dog is OK man! I didn't read back far enough to see what happened with the lawyers and the explosion you were talking about. I will have to get in here and work back a few pages.

Thank you. Great to hear from you Andy. Our regular vet removed her stitches last Tuesday and was amazed at how far she came along in such a short time. It was brutal ordeal. The incision in her belly was 10". She's off restriction now and getting herself back to business as usual. Good thing. I don't know how I would manage to work another jungle without her help and supervision. Next step is we go back to Auburn for post-op baseline imaging studies. Regular follow-ups will confirm the malignancy didn't escape the tumor and she will remain cancer free.

Not much progress on the explosion yet. The attorney sent our evidence to a materials analyst in Atlanta in August. By late September this guy finished the preliminary report and said the wheel was clearly defective in manufacture with undeniable physical evidence it was the one and only cause of this thing blowing my thumb off. He told the attorney he may confidently begin filings whenever he wanted because he had all the dirt and the closer he looked, the more he found. Attorney decided to crank it up a notch and had him examine the sister wheel and a redesigned wheel to add defective design to the case. Then the expert and most of his staff got hit by the delta corona, and then it was the holidays and then it was the rest of the company down with omicron and yadda, yadda. Bottom line is he's been screwing the pooch ever since. This engineer needs to provide his work and return all the evidence very soon.. We're in no hurry but spending nearly year on analysis doesn't go well to reinforce a credible sense of urgency. Especially since no notice of our intent has been revealed to even to final link in the supply chain.

But, a benefit of the delay comes as I'm continually learning how badly this thing hurt me. The harder I work during the day, the more it throbs all night. It does seem to be a forever injury.
I got everything fairly well shaded, mulched and planted by early last week. I hit it with a little of low chlorine 18-7-11, microbes and I'm trying hard to get everything well established before I have to leave again next week. Hard to do when planting so late. The weather here is awful. No rain except for the quick splashes we get when the tornado fronts blast through and it's beastly hot already. Even though I started hardening them the day we got home from Auburn and I did this more than two weeks before putting anything into the ground, the heat is very hard on them. I wish I could have put them out a month earlier when the weather was more reasonable. Even that would have been late by my usual standards.

So far I've only lost one set out tomato and one nice YNBS pepper in a 5 gallon fabric pot I had in reserve. Both went to pure limp lettuce mode overnight Sunday and I couldn't save them. Odd thing is I gave my brother all my leftover tomatoes, 6 nice peppers and some squash plants Sunday afternoon. More evidence that no good deed goes unpunished.

I'm hoping we'll actually get more than a drop of the substantial rain they're saying we may get this weekend. We'll see. Otherwise, I have some simple irrigation set up for my wife who will be home alone with my crew.

Everything isn't quite as miserable as it looks in the picture because I planted into fairly deep depressions for more practical use of water. Regardless, I'm not impressed, even considering such a late start.


The bean wall is coming along. One of my planted peppers looks like it's in danger. This picture shows some extra shade I put up over one area to see what goes on.


A good thing is all my mama plants are doing OK even though for the first time ever, aphids got into my hillbilly winter shelter. I thought I was gonna lose one of my 2015 model cardi scorpions and a 2015 reaper. But they all made it. I have flowers on many and a bunch of pods on my YNBS mama plant. That one lived in the nursery all winter but still got aphids. I just found them and killed them much quicker. I guess I must do better pest control before overwintering next time. Just when you think you have it all figured out, ya get blasted.