Stop back as I expand this section!
I’m in the process of including a photo gallery of gardening tips for home growers.
2009 bumper crop of garden tomatoes. Note the stake and lathe support method. This year’s crop reached over SEVEN feet until the weight of the fruit crushed the vines.
A garden spider is a useful ally. Do not kill them! They will make short work of earwigs, flies and aphids. I used to regularily dust my garden with Sevin®. I don’t anymore. My friend Charlotte has taken good care of everything.
Hungarian Wax Peppers are historically dried and used for Paprika. I grow these every year. Incredible in salsa and on sandwiches. Heat can range from mild to medium-hot. Pick when red to ensure optimum flavor and the highest vitamin C content.
Cayenne peppers add a decorative touch when hung out to dry on a traditional ristra during harvest season. When fully dry, remove the stems, then grind or crush them. Store in an airtight spice jar in your cupboard for up to a year.
South American bird chilis. This species goes by many names and is the ancestor of all hot chilis now grown in Southeast Asia. The pods grow profusely — and straight up, allowing birds to easily ingest them and scatter the seeds during migration. This variety is extremely hot, but interestingly enough, birds are not bothered by the heat.
Ripe jalapeño peppers with blistering on the skin. This is a common problem due to temperature and moisture fluctuations. It does not affect the quality of the yield. Note that they are ripe red, which are the hottest and used for dried chipotles.
Dried Thai bird’s eye chili peppers from my garden.
They are incredibly hot, measuring 100,000~250,000 SHU.
After picking, wash them, then dry on a towel.
I place them in my outdoor smoker and dry at 100°F for about 30 minutes.
When Thai bird’s eye peppers are dried they will darken to a beautiful earthy chocolate brown color. Store in an airtight spice jar away from direct sunlight, or place in your freezer.
Homegrown oregano and basil from my garden. I’ve had the best luck growing them in large pots – they tend to get destroyed by earwigs if left in the garden.
Staking Tomatoes: Using a set of Vise-Grip clamps to help hold the bamboo to the metal fence posts. They will then be wired to the post using 16-gauge galvanized utility wire.
Staking Tomatoes: A closeup shot of the bamboo being secured to the metal fence post. Note the heavy-duty tomato cage. They cost more but are much better than the flimsy cages, which cannot support the weight of a six to eight-foot plant.
Mounding the base of tomato plants with about 6-8 inches of compost will help keep the roots cool during the hot months of July and August. Scatter grass clippings over the top. Your yield will increase dramatically.
This little beast saved me two straight days of hand cultivating my garden with a shovel and tine rake…. the Stihl MM-55 Yard Boss. Love it! My next accessory investment is the lowrider chrome-mag wheel kit… stylin’…