It’s been a little bit since my last installment so I thought I might update you all with a new article.
When last we left our hero, he was having to contend with cave dogs, rising electric bills from the grow lights, and good soil. I was finally able to locate some really good soil but at $20 a bag (1.5 cubic feet) it sure wasn’t cheap. I decided to make this my soil for the potted peppers. Since Cleveland receives a fair amount of rain I decided to place all my pepper plants into their own containers. This would allow me to keep moving them in and out when it rains to prevent them from getting root rot or a potential plethora of other problems that arise from too moist of soil.
Next up was to treat the soil that the veggies and my mom’s flowers were to live in. With well over 95 cubic feet of space, this was going to be back breaking work. How did I handle this? Pace myself! I ended up mixing in over 10 bags of sand, 12 bags of manure/compost, and 10 lbs of powdered dolomitic lime over a span of 2 weeks. I also sent some soil samples off to the University of Michigan to ensure there were no heavy metals in the soil. Luckily it only came back with a high levels of Metallica which is generally harmless unless you plan to grow an online free music site.
In addition to treating the soil I also had to construct a trellis for all the climbing veggies to use. After turning the soil over a few times over the coming weeks the next thing to be done was to harden off the plants. Since the plants had only seen artificial light they have to go through a slow getting used to period. This consists of slowly introducing the plants to direct sunlight. The process was complicated by Cleveland’s unreliable weather. So the plants ended up having to be re-hardened off a total of three times.
Last frost in Cleveland is supposed to be Memorial Day weekend. So after consulting the weather forecast for the week, I decided it was safe enough to start planting the veggies in the ground a day or two before Memorial Day.
Well, that unpredictable weather struck again and I got word of a frost that was going to happen the night of May 28th. So I covered all the plants in hopes that I taught them to be strong enough to survive.
They did and are now growing like gang busters. Another interesting experiment I am conducting besides the “Top Secret Pepper Grow Project” is my “upside down Fatalii” plant. Yes, that’s correct, I’m growing a pepper upside down. An idea received from a fellow gardener. I purchased a Topsy Turvy planter and hung the sucker up and a few days letter, tt’s already starting to correct itself. I chose the Fatalii because it’s quite a pepper producer and I’ve grown them before. This will allow me to see if there is any increase or decrease in pepper production..
I ended up starting to worry about invaders of the furry kind about a week ago. We get lots of bunnies, squirrels, and chipmunks (of the non-signing kind) around the area and boy do they love to munch on garden veggies. So how am I combating this? PREDATOR URINE! No, not the Predator of the action movies….I received a restraining order from 20th Century Fox after the second attempt to collect it from him.
The stuff I got is a combo of a few predators like Mountain Lion, Coyote, Michael Jackson, and Wolf. The theory behind using this stuff is that you sprinkle some of it around your garden every few weeks and the wild animals think there’s a predator in the area and won’t come near it. So far so good because nothing’s been munched on yet!
I finally put the last plants into the ground yesterday and everything is looking great. Since there was some extra space I ended up adding a few things to the grow list. The new ones are listed in bold
My list: Havana Tobacco, Goji Berries, Super Sweet 100 Tomato, Exhibition Onion, Bhut Jolokia, Piquin, Top Secret Pepper Grow Project, Fatalii, “Monster” Asain Birdseye, Jalapeno, Serrano, Radish.
Mom’s Plants: Lisianthus, Aster Sea Star, Lambs Ear, Basil, Pansy, Dahlia, Snap Dragon, Celosia, Chives, Cilantro, Pole Beans, Sage, Zucchini, Cucumber, Stevia, Sugar Snap Pea
It seems like we have come to the end of the second installment. Stay tuned for the third installment folks. Same bat time! Saaaaaame bat channel!