Cayenne Peppers Explode in Super Soil

Well, not explode as in Ka-Boom!, but explode in numbers. Take a look at our harvest of peppers from two plants. Two bowls or colanders full from each plant made for a healthy harvest, wouldn’t you say?

bowls of peppers
Two bowls of peppers harvested from each cayenne pepper plant.

On one plant I started counting the peppers and lost track after 180. The plants grew to 5 feet tall and that’s certainly the biggest I’ve ever seen them. Probably won’t be planting any cayenne peppers next year as we’ll have enough dried peppers for the next five years!

Huge Cayenne Pepper Plant
Huge Cayenne Pepper Plant

large pepper plant stem
Girth of this pepper plant stem is over an inch in diameter.

These bountiful plants grew in a brand new section of the vegetable garden where we had a truck load of super soil dumped. In the mountains we definitely have to amend the soil as it’s mostly clay and rock. And I mean there are LOTS of rocks in that dirt.

cayenne pepper plant in front of garage door
Harvested cayenne pepper plant laid in front of garage door.

I’m going to find out exactly how the super soil was made so we can replicate that for next year’s growing season. Compost is one component for sure, but what other ‘ingredients’ and in what combination is unknown at this point. Next year we’ll have to pick up a tumbler composter and make our own compost to amend the soil that’s already in the garden. So far, the Compost Wizard Dueling Tumbler and the Envirocycle Original Composter look very promising. I really like the idea of capturing compost tea with these tumblers.

We already use compost in the garden and flower beds, but since we have the room we just dump everything in a couple of piles near the edge of the yard and let nature take its course. Some ‘black dirt’ can be shoveled from the bottom of the piles, but the roots of nearby plants tend to grow up into the compost piles. Not the best solution for getting enough compost, but the price is right. However, if we could do away with pouring on fertilizers, like MiracleGro, then the cost of a composter would be insignificant.

Here’s to making our own Super Soil next year! BTW, tomatoes did awesome in the super soil, too!

Don’t Eat Chinese Garlic Grow Your Own Instead

Garlic is one of the most easily recognized flavors and it’s loved by many. Late summer fun includes garlic festivals where one can enjoy garlicky foods you wouldn’t ordinarily think of, like garlic ice cream or garlic funnel cakes. There’s still time to plan a trip to garlic festivals on the East Coast, like the Pocono Garlic Festival in Pennsylvania.

Where ever you get your garlic, don’t buy it from the grocery stores as that stuff comes from China. No kidding! Check your shaker of garlic powder and see what it says in the small print…Made in China! Evidently, you have to buy the gourmet version from McCormick Spices to enjoy California-grown garlic.

Instead of buying food that comes from the other side of the Earth, get some locally grown garlic. Garlic grown locally will have the freshest taste just like all the other vegetables at the local fruit stand. Supporting your local farmers keeps your money in your community and that’s something worth the drive.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind getting in the dirt, grow your own garlic. It’s very easy and you’ll have enough to share with your neighbors and friends.

  • Pick an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day.
  • Prepare the soil by adding compost or organic materials until it can be worked easily.
  • Break apart a garlic bulb into its separate cloves.
  • Poke holes in the soil, one for each clove, about 2 inches deep and six inches apart.
  • Insert a clove in each hole with the pointy end up.
  • Cover the holes and mulch well with leaves or straw for winter protection.

Some garlic may sprout before the winter, especially if planted right after harvesting the garlic in the heat of summer. That’s ok because any sprouts that grow big enough can be pulled up and roasted or chopped and added to vegetables or salads.