Monthly Archives: June 2011

Perusing the Peppers

I’m sure this will become a fairly regular feature as we continue through the summer, what with 16 different kinds of peppers growing! So far, the chile peppers and hot-but-not-kill-you-hot peppers are doing the best, while the bell peppers, for the most part, are still growing plants without much flowering or setting fruit. And the habanero – it’s just hanging out. That’s what I’ve experienced from habaneros in the past. It’s like they have to accrue a certain number of hours of heat and sun before the really grow and start to produce.

A couple of the ‘Merlot’ peppers that set on early are starting to turn colors. I’m excited to see how purple the end color is!

The ‘Bulgarian Carrot’ peppers are showing signs of being quite productive. I think they’ll be quite stunning too, once they turn orange.

Despite being slow to get going, the pepper garden is now looking lush and healthy. They’ve come a long way!

The ‘NuMex Sunrise’ Chili Peppers are an early front-runner in the amount of peppers set on. I hope plants will continue to be healthy and productive all summer!

There are a number of other peppers starting to show up, but these (plus the Albino Bullnose and the Piros featured in last Friday’s PhotoEssay) are the frontrunners in productivity so far.


Video Wednesday

I feel like I’ve said the same things about male and female flowers on vine crops a million times in the last week, so maybe it’s time to review that same information via video!

Training Vines to Grow Vertically

I’ve posted a few pictures of things growing in our “Vertical” Garden, but I’m sure you are all wondering how the whole trellising process is going and exactly how we’re going about it. (Okay, maybe you weren’t wondering, but you should have been!)

This first picture isĀ  look at what the whole garden looked like this morning before we did any work on the vines and getting the garden cleaned up.

(I will note that we did trellis everything last week as well, so everything that is growing all over the place has grown there since last week.)

You can see that the Malabar Spinach is growing well, the melons are making a carpet under the trellis, and it’s just a jungle down on the far end where the squash and cucumbers reside.

We try to keep from walking in the raised beds on a regular basis, but to really work with these vines, I had to get in under the trellises today!

The beans generally do a really good job of growing up the trellises on their own and don’t need much help.

The vines on the other hand – they need some help to climb the trellises. The first few vines on each plant did okay at climbing, but as you can see from the picture, that didn’t last long. The vine vegetables/fruits do have tendrils that will hold the plants up, but you have to get them up first.

So how do we get those vines up on the trellises and keep them there?

We are using these clips that you see on the right. These can be found as “tomato clips” or “tomato trellis clips,” and I think they work very well for trellising vine crops.

The way the clip on the right is used is how I think is best for clipping on this type of trellis. You try to clip around a spot where the wire cross, and clip the vine to the trellis right under a new leaf branching spot. This secures the vine so that it can’t slide down the trellis.

Generally, when you are tying up vines, you want to pick up and try to disentangle an individual vine, and twine it up the trellis in the spot that is most natural. I usually wrap the vine up, in and out of the wires, and then put a clip on one or two crosspieces from the top of the vine. This provides support for the whole vine, without risking damage to the top few inches of the vine.

This is the melons after looked like after we got the clips on this morning. You can see the clips are near the ends of the vines, but not right at the ends of the vines. Sometimes you just have to wait and put the clips on a couple days later.

Here’s what the garden looks like after getting all of those crazy vines twined and clipped onto our trellis. Much better! Of course, by next Tuesday, there will probably be a lot more vines growing in the middle of the bed, but hopefully we’ll also have a lot of vines growing all the way to the top of the trellis!

4th of July Local Food Challenge!

The 4th of July weekend is a popular time for families and neighbors to get together for picnics to enjoy the best summer food. Our Local Food-South Central Kansas encourages everyone to celebrate freedom with a meal made of locally produced foods during the holiday weekend! While shopping for your July 4th weekend picnic or outing, OLF-SC challenges you to pick up a few tasty items from Our Local Food -South Central Members! You can find a directory of our members on our blog at

Then, send us recipes and pictures of your local food experience on Facebook, Twitter, or email and you will be entered into a drawing to win some fun local food prizes! Recipes will be collected and compiled into an Our Local Food-South Central eBook that will be available FREE to anyone who signs up to receive our e-newsletter. To sign up for the e-newsletter, visit our blog or our Facebook page.

Find us on the Web: Blog at, Facebook at , Twitter @OLFSouthCentral, and email at

If you need ideas for recipes, check out the Lunch in the Garden link above!


Friday PhotoEssay

It’s the end of the week again! Check out the Lunch in the Garden page for today’s yummy recipe – Curried Mushrooms, Potatoes, and Peas.

The squash in the Smart Pot container is starting to bloom. The ants are liking the flowers too!

The Malabar Spinach is really taking off in this heat!

One of our Master Gardeners let us tour her garden, and she has these really neat raised beds.

The Albino Bullnose heirloom peppers are setting quite well. The peppers are easy to spot, too!

The ‘Piros’ sweet peppers are also setting well. They are kind of squished and ruffled shaped. It will be fun to watch them grow!

Have a great weekend!