Monday, November 06, 2006

What's Growin' On: 11/6/06

Realization Of The Day:
It took me so long to get around to posting this photo that it is now completely irrelevant. (But I really like it so I'm putting it up anyway.)

This is a close-up of one of the three Aconcagua pepper seedlings I transplanted into the greenhouse back on August 12th. They were leftovers from summer, and rather than simply toss them into a compost bin, I figured I'd put them in the ground and see what happened--knowing full well that it takes something like 80 warm days for these peppers to mature and that we would probably be seeing frost in about 60. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a poor, forgotten plant. In the photo you can also see some of the basil I transplanted at the same time--more seedlings that had been languishing in tiny plugs for months.

Both the peppers and the basil were thriving despite a few nights at 21 degrees F. There were even several peppers a couple of inches long and looking very hopeful. But last week the temperature dipped into the teens, and despite my covering the plants and the protection of the greenhouse, well, all that's left now is a soggy, stinky mess. Yeah, I really should have harvested that basil.

The way I see it, though, is that not only did I enjoy having those warm weather plants in the greenhouse for a while, but now I have more available growing space. This also shows that if you live in a slightly warmer climate than I do (we're Zone 5), you might just be able to keep peppers and basil growing well into winter. And maybe even tomatoes, too. On the other side of the greenhouse was a lone Thai Pink Egg tomato plant that sported several blossoms and even one cute little tomato. (Another forgotten, pathetic, rootbound specimen I didn't have the heart to toss out last summer.) It's history now, too, but many years ago I did harvest ripe greenhouse tomatoes in January, and ever since then I've been willing to take my chances.

If you do plan to nurture tomatoes through the colder months, I suggest growing cherry tomatoes as the fruits take much less time to mature than larger varieties. Those January tomatoes I enjoyed so much were actually teeny tiny red currant tomatoes. They are cute as can be and practically as sweet as candy. I've found the plants to be easy to grow and resistant to diseases, pests, and weather fluctuations.

Hmmm. I wonder if I should start some seeds now. Ripe garden tomatoes on Valentine's Day, anyone?

Realization #2:
I have no idea why I thought I'd suddenly have tons of time to spend blogging once fall arrived. Instead I seem to be busier than ever. So much to write about, so much still to do in the garden. But I hope to be back to posting more frequently soon. (And I'm also behind on answering questions. Thanks for your patience.)


  1. I was just looking through William Woys Weaver's book, Heirloom Vegetable Gardening. In his section on tomatoes, he mentions that current-type cherry tomatoes are the closest relations to the wild tomato, and are hardier than all others. (I was paging through the book on Saturday, looking for other information, so I may have mis-remembered the exact details. I'm pretty sure this is what he said, though.)

    So, your idea of trying current tomatoes in a greenhouse in the winter is a good one!

  2. Ooooh! Thai PInk Egg tomatoes? Sounds delicious. Are the good for canning/preserving, or better eaten fresh?

    What kind of greenhouse do you have, FG? I live in Zone 8 and would love to try growing tomatoes and peppers during the winter. Is your greenhouse made of plastic stuff, or more traditional materials (glass, wood, stone)? There's not much room at my house to build anything bigger than a cold frame, but my mom's looking to build a 10' x 10' greenhouse in her big yard.

  3. Ok, I thought you'd performed some kind of chilly gardening miracle with producing peppers in fall. Either way -- good tips. Although I've ripped out my garden and started amending and neem oiling it for spring. This year, no pumpkins will die. Maybe next year I go for the winter tomatoes.

  4. Nothing prettier than a pepper plant.

  5. I`m so glad I found your blog! Wonderful plants and recipes. I`m planning a kitchen garden in the spring to extend off our back garden. Right now I`m sticking to inside projects but I can`t wait to start!


  6. i love fresh peppers


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