• Blog your pepper progress. The first image in your first post will be used to represent your Glog.

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.
 
 
 

Attachments

  • layout.jpeg
    layout.jpeg
    251.8 KB · Views: 7,194
  • cody hay inspector.jpg
    cody hay inspector.jpg
    367.8 KB · Views: 301
We just had another 2-day cold period that was similar to the one we had the first of this month but was colder earlier in the nights. Monday and Tuesday I tried to pick everything. Ha! Good luck with that.

Monday night I didn't bother with turning on the water.since it was still 41° at 4AM. Warmer than predicted. Low temp of 39.2 began at 6:45 and lasted for a while. The next night was a bit different. Widespread freeze was forecast. The temp went below 37 by 10 PM so I started one sprinkler. When i checked at 4 AM it was 32.7 near the house and 32.1 out in the patch so I turned on the second sprinkler. The cold finished off at 31.6 at 6:30 and then warmed up quickly. No damage done. The plants live to work me some more.

I thought this was good. Saved from a bit of a freeze and a heavy frost and all I had to do was open a couple of sprinkler valves. Life is good. The water method works well. My thought was I'll just go with this system for the duration and see what I can get away with.


Nice thing about a perma-glog is I have a lot of info to refer to here. That's good because every time I do something I need retraining. All I remembered about the season ending event last year was the epic 5-day deep freeze. I completely forgot about the two minor events before that included one where it went down to 26° for a while. My frost blankets and tarps saved my plants from those and got the patch through til a couple days before Christmas.

But that's so much work and all the on-off beats the hell outta the plants. I think what I'm gonna do before the next cold snap is cover the plants with the water permeable frost blankets and leave them in place for the duration. They allow something like 85% of the light to pass through and they definitely offer some good cold protection. That and the sprinkler tricks may keep me picking peppers for a while.

Sometimes I think I'm a glutton for punishment.
 
a lot of their blurbs start off that way.

i think the wording helps to indicate that it was "created" versus naturally occurring.

but also i noticed this vendor doesn't really update their descriptions, so whenever they first started carrying it, it was obviously much newer than it is at present.

I got some seeds from Atlantic. Yellow and I took my bonus buy in reds. We had an email confab about the yellow cardi peppers. I asked about history and background. He said it is what it is and he has no lineage info but it's a great variety.and it's not a variety they made. Later, after I explained myself a little bit, he said the yellow came from red seeds but they didn't acquire from anywhere so it's likely a variant. Umm, okay.

Reading between the lines it sounds like it's another "happy accident". All in all, it's good news to me as it makes me feel like my happy accident (8 years in the making) will grow true to what I see now. And it should be killer. Regardless, I'll be able to compare the two mutations as well as my red cardi and their red cardi. Good stuff.

I'll grow some of mine and some of theirs as isolated plants for the seeds. Since I won't need any pure seed from the patch next year, I'll go ahead grow a row or two with both varieties of yellow cardi and the rest of the patch will be my usual YNBS.

More good stuff. The seeds look great. I didn't open the packs and count but there's a hell of a lot more in each pack than the advertised 10 seeds. I imagine they'll pop very well if customs didn't nuke them too hard.
 
The plants are still happy. Flowering, making babies, and sprouting new branches. Keeping them picked is like sweeping the sun off the sidewalk. I have four bins waiting for processing right now. Been picking since it's getting cold tonight and tomorrow night. We've had many two-day freeze/frost events this month but the plants don't care. I put on some winter covers and turn on at least one overhead sprinkler when I know it will f/f by daylight. I typically start one at around 4 AM and run til the temp is above 32. It will be earlier tonight. Almost 10 PM it's already below 33° in the patch. One sprinkler puts down about 100 GPH. The lowest my temp monitors have seen this year is 29.1°.

Edit: I shouldn't post late at night. One sprinkler puts down more like 230 GPM.
Footnote: Low was 29.5 this morning.

It's a pretty easy deal. I use Govee bluetooth sensors now so my phone can do real time monitoring and show alarms from inside the house. When it's time to turn on the water, I just put on my slippers and trot my happy ass just off the front porch to open a valve.

All tucked in for the two cold nights.

QqS4ZxA.jpg
 
Last edited:
I am curious, how did it go? They are under the covers but not all the way down, did the frost hit them?

The plants are all good. They've had about eight nights below freezing so far.

It was down to 30 point something at 4:15 this morning so I turned the water on for a couple hours. The water seems to do a big job. This is my first year using this strategy. I shouldn't have to do anything tonight. Low of 34 is the forecast.

Edit: So much for the almighty forecast. I just checked temps around the place and find a low of 32.2 and it's just now 10 PM. I started the water.
 
Last edited:
I've always heard the way overhead irrigation for freeze protection works is it coats the plants and their important parts with ice. I never understood how you can freeze something to protect it from freezing. Now I've seen it happen and I know it works but I still don't understand how and why it does.

Monday night/Tuesday morning the low was supposed to be 34°. I woke up around 11 and checked my main sensor. 37.2°. No problem. Hah! When my usual 4-ish get up time rolled around, I checked again. Down to 28.6°. Problem. I rolled out and went to work and apparently caught it just in time. The lines were almost frozen. Nothing but a slow drip coming out of the sprinklers when turned on the first one so I started opening alternative upstream routes to get some warmer water pushing through and managed to get everything working.

Me and working dog went back in the house to get warm and stoke up the wood stove a bit harder. When I went out the back door for wood, I noticed the light that was supposed to be keeping my OW plants warm was no longer running. They're not yet in the winter shelter but still living in a wagon parked in front of my car, under a tarp, with a 40W incandescent to keep them warm. I also caught that .just in time. The light fixture with the burned out bulb was still warm. The temp in there was 36.4 and dropping like a stone. I got a 250 w IR heat lamp up and running quicklike and saved them. Even with the hot light, the temp kept dropping until it bottomed out at 35° at 7:30.

The OAT finally bottomed at 25.5° at 6:45 AM and didn't make it back above freezing until 8 AM. At that point, I turned the water off. Now to the punch line.

The patch was a winter wonderland. All the covers and everything else under the irrigation had a thin layer of ice. The plant parts not under the covers were indeed coated with ice. Later in the day, it looked like everything survived. We had 2" of cold rain yesterday so I didn't make the final call until this morning, after another cold night. All the plants and iced pods are still doing fine. It's amazing what you can learn and confirm if you subject yourself to enough abuse.

These pictures were taken at 8:10 Tuesday morning.

lZ8sj6F.jpg


SRPbB6u.jpg
 
Nice catch DB. That whole water freezes, not the plants thing does kinda boggle the mind, but it does work. Now, if that was me, everything would've been toast. I know it's your norm, but I'm definitely past those 4am get-ups. :crazy: 😴💤
 
Yep. Good catch. It's cool that you can do this to protect your plants over winter. I'm aware that the practice is commonly used with micro-jet irrigation in Florida citrus, with grove temperatures being bolstered by the heat the water releases as it freezes. Pretty good write up here including strategies to be most effective -

Microsprinkler Irrigation for Cold Protection of Florida Citrus
 
It's a common in practice in parts of Europe as well to protect the blossoms of fruit trees with an ice cap if light frost is expected.

How many times will you have repeated this when the last frost will have past :)
 
Yep. Good catch. It's cool that you can do this to protect your plants over winter. I'm aware that the practice is commonly used with micro-jet irrigation in Florida citrus, with grove temperatures being bolstered by the heat the water releases as it freezes. Pretty good write up here including strategies to be most effective -

Microsprinkler Irrigation for Cold Protection of Florida Citrus

Thanks CD. That's a very interesting read. It will give me a lot to learn and plan for possible implementation next winter. What I will do now is cobble up some properly open to air, waterproof enclosures for my sensors and start collecting more data. I just did quick and dirty plastic bags out there this year. Besides temp, the sensors log RH, DP and VPD. I feel pretty sure that can't be perfectly accurate unless they can actually taste the air.

It's a common in practice in parts of Europe as well to protect the blossoms of fruit trees with an ice cap if light frost is expected.

How many times will you have repeated this when the last frost will have past :)

I don't have any illusions about keeping things going as is for too much longer. It's already the longest outdoor growing season I've ever had. For now, we supposedly have a 10-day forecast of decently warm weather. Another week will easily give me another 50 pounds. Sooner or later there's always gonna be too much hard freeze that will shut it down no matter what I do.

Before that happens I'll move the fencing, hack the plants, do a little banking with tree trash and set up properly supported and anchored low covers for the duration. Maybe I can pull off getting the stumps through the winter with some irrigation when it's beastly cold. Uh huh, haha!

It would be nice to have some rooted and growing plants ready to take off come spring. If not, no big deal. I'll be all set up to peel back the covers and plant the babies early.
 
I did hear something about the cold water protecting plants from dying when they're already frozen. It was some kind of a tip, when you catch frozen plant before the sun touches it, you pour the cold water on it and that way when the sun touches it, it slowly unfreeze and is saved from the damage. If you pour the warm water, it will be dead, if you don't pour any, it will probably die too.

I just remembered it now! But it doesn't protect plant from freezing, it protects expanded cells from coming to previous sizes too rapidly and destroying themselves while temperature rises. Water acts weirdly and it's beautiful!
 
I did hear something about the cold water protecting plants from dying when they're already frozen. It was some kind of a tip, when you catch frozen plant before the sun touches it, you pour the cold water on it and that way when the sun touches it, it slowly unfreeze and is saved from the damage. If you pour the warm water, it will be dead, if you don't pour any, it will probably die too.

I just remembered it now! But it doesn't protect plant from freezing, it protects expanded cells from coming to previous sizes too rapidly and destroying themselves while temperature rises. Water acts weirdly and it's beautiful!

Interesting. It makes sense. The field treatment for frostbite is thaw the frozen tissue, ideally with body temperature water.
 
Winter season notes:

The plants are good and still doing everything they're supposed to be doing. I've been turning on the water when it looks certain to go below 30°. That's just about every night lately. Got a break last night with a low of 35°. Mid-January with plants still flowering, growing and producing is awesome but it's time to move on to phase 2 of the irrigation experiment. I have my doubts but it will be great if it works.

Absurd weather coming in this week. Wednesday morning it's supposed to be 17°. I don't really see that as workable. If it happens, that's will be the coldest we've had in many years. Then two more nights just above 20° this weekend.

I've been trimming and picking to extract the fencing from the plants. I got that finished yesterday. I'll pull all the posts that need moved for next crop. Tomorrow I'll hack the plants and finish the picking. I have a 100'x7' strip of 0.9 oz/yd² winter cover so I'll be able to cut one piece lengths to protect the rows of stumps. I'll hold the covers to the ground with T-posts. Besides being colder than a well diggers ass in January, it will be windy.

I'm also getting the hillbilly winter shelter all tuned up and ready to go. I moved the OW plants in yesterday. With no blanket wrap, one very benign 250W IR halogen brooder lamp keeps it 15° above outside temp. Tonight, since it will go to the high 20's, I'll run the brooder light all night and the pump that lives on the other side of the common wall will have to run part time for at least a few hours. We'll see what that does.

Tomorrow night I'll do the full blanket wrap and will have to start the pump very early to protect the stumps. That should offer well over 20° of help. I'll also add one of my superhot, old-timey 250W french fry lights for emergency backup. No way I'm gonna take a chance on losing my brand new yellow cardi scorpion mutant or any of my remaining perma-plants.
 
Pretty impressive, DW. Great information sharing!
 
  • Like
Reactions: DWB
End of season notes:

The weird cold started the night of 1/15. Surprise ice storm with a lot of wind. I ran the water and the plants did well even with a lot of the covers blown off. Picture was taken at noon.

aL7TcJ2.jpg


When the ice melted, I finished the picking and hacked the plants. I didn't have time to do all the work as I wanted it so I just laid covers over the stumps and secured them with posts, etc. The low was 19° that night. The irrigation put everything under a ¾" igloo. The next night it was 14.9°. It got really cold, really early and that took me by surprise. It was below 25° by 8 PM and before I turned on the water. Parts of the water system were getting frozen already but I got it thawed. The next day I busted off some igloo and had a look at a few of the plants. Everything looked dead as a hammer so I quit with the irrigation and figured that was the end of it. Next night was 23.4 and the next 32 followed by 23.5, 23.2, 21.4, 32.9 and then right back up to lows in the 50's and 60's for a while. The ice stayed on the cover until it warmed up. It was the worst cold I remember having in a very long time.

x2w0Ru9.jpg


I walked away and did no more. I left the plants covered until Feb 15. When I pulled the covers. I found signs of life on one stump. We had two more nights the next week slightly below freezing but I didn't cover anything. As of now I have 13 plants that are alive. I have no idea how well they'll do since this is uncharted territory. I'm hoping they'll do good. Time will tell. I gave them some of my ho'made low chlorine fertilizer the Friday before last, just before we got 5" of rain. Not sure if it washed in or washed away.

BlHJfwI.jpg
 
The major thing for this year is working with the CARDI Scorpions. I don't care too much at all about a massive harvest. I will be growing some YNBS crop, including the ones who made it though the winter. I hope they do well.

I have a lot scorpions started. Four different types. My red CARDI that I've been growing since 2015 and the red CARDI I got from the Canadian company. I'll grow some of both in-ground to compare crop and will grow some of the red from Canada in isolation for pure seed.

I also have many starts going for my yellow CARDI mutant that popped last year and will grow out a bunch along with many examples of the yellow CARDI (mutant?) from the same Canadian company that @growyourown referred me to last year. These will also be crop and isolation. It will be interesting. As far as I've ever seen, these are the only two yellow CARDI scorpions that look true to actual CARDI form except for one place in OZ who used to have seed. Otherwise, every yellow CARDI I've ever seen offered were the ButchT looking things.

Since a huge crop isn't a consideration this year, I didn't start any seeds until mid-Feb so all my starts are much smaller than usual. In the patch this year, smaller plants won't hurt my feelings at all. I have somewhere around 60 starts going. I'll probably devote another entire row to peppers.

SuG5qvv.jpg


5sTOTJ7.jpg


I'll also plant my usual Amish Paste tomatoes, zucchini, butternut and candy roaster squashes, pole beans and bush beans.

Another thing to do is renew my 7 Pot Douglah permaplants. I lost most of those the winter before last due to winter shelter mismanagement. . One kinda survived but gave it up last summer. It was one of the dead OW Douglah pots that popped the mysterious yellow scorpion mutant. I thought the volunteer would certainly be a Douglah. Go figure.

My OW plants this year survived the freak weather in January. I put a thermostatic heater in there to keep it at 50° but I kept it tightly blanket wrapped until the cold was done. They weren't happy with being in the dark that long. Since I didn't know what other freak weather may come along, I left it in the dark but added a variety of small grow lights. That kept them alive. They've been out for quite a long while now and are doing okay. Two reapers, my red CARDI and the new yellow CARDI mutant and a YNBS.
 
That's awesome that you managed to save seven plants. They
should grow like gangbusters once the Spring warms up!
 
Back
Top