Late Season Peppers

The beauty of your own pepper garden. Ours is on its last legs, but these came out last week. Check out the colors on these as they range from hot, to oh my god hot. Our pepper garden is 6'x6' on the side of our driveway hiding behind our lemon tree. We jammed over 40 starts in that area and have been rewarded all summer with fresh peppers ranging from bell to jalapeno. Urban Gardening at its best.

An Incredible Urban Herb Garden

Just a short note to pay homage to one of the incredible herb gardens. It has survived 100+ degrees this summer in direct sunlight. Now it did get watered twice a day and pampered by Mrs. Thumb who dearly loves to cook with fresh herbs.

This particular spot is about 5'x 3' and we planted sunflowers and pole beans at the very back against the wall.. The sunflowers are long gone now, but did there job providing shade during the heat of summer. Look close and you will see six, yup count them six herbs getting long in the tooth but still proving money saving, fresh produce. Let me name all six: Italian Parsley, regular Parsley, Oregano, Sweet Basil, Perennial Basil, in the background with purple flowers, and Cinnamon Basil in the foreground with purple flowers. That is the meaning of Urban Gardening.

For those of you that don't know what this flowering plant is, it is an herb called Cilantro. We started these from seeds and transplanted them between the tomatoes, that were shaded by, you guessed it, Giant Sunflowers. Not only are the sunflowers long gone, but so are the tomatoes, leaving this lonely little Cilantro plant left. It is late in the year for our garden, but to watch the last remnants is fun, and reflects the layering that goes into Urban Gardens.

2009 Highlights

We always try a few new variety's, usually from starts but sometimes from seed. This year was no exception and the results were great. The first crop is always radish's and we planted the traditional Cherry Belle, and a new one called Watermelon Radish. They are slower to mature and develop a much larger top, but what a pleasant surprise when you harvest them. A mild radish heat and typical texture, but with a 2" to 3" diameter and an interior color you won't believe. ***** Stars

These are officially called Armenian Cucumbers. We grew these from seed in morning sun mixed with regular pickling cucumbers and pole beans. We actually forgot about them as the plants grew and mixed in perfectly with the other cuc's. When we discovered them, they were already from 16" to 24" long and 2" to 3" diameters with a nice pale green color. We peeled and sliced them to eat raw with a mild to sweet taste and a little more crunch then regular cucumbers. ***** Stars.

New to our garden was a Crookneck Squash. Planted a single start in full sun by itself that grew rapidly into a huge 5' diameter plant. We did spay this plant for aphids as it had it's own Eco-system inside all the huge leaves. We were also careful not to spray the entire plant, but watered a lot at the base of the plant. The effort was worth it as it produced at least 100 of these nice sized squash. From barbecued to stuffed and baked or eaten raw these were great. This plant did require some extra work with watering and bugs. **** Star

The rest of this years Urban Garden was for the most part standard vegetables and herbs that we are familiar with. With limited space it's best to utilize your areas with the regular old standby's you can count on and calculate what your crop size will be.

The Herb Garden

Well, it's late in the year for this urban garden. The tomatoes, squash, beans, zucchini, are all done and mostly have been removed from the garden. There are a few things still hanging in there, but the herbs are the bright spot. If you look close there is five different herbs in a small 3'x3' area that gets full morning sun. This little area includes Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Parsley, and Oregano. Basic herbs to grow for a healthy diet.

Middle Eastern Cucumbers

These are a little different in looks, taste, and texture from conventional cucumbers. This is our first time growing these and would highly recommend them. No problem with the plants, awesome texture, mild cucumber flavor, with very small seeds. On a five star rating system with five being the best, we would give these a five.

We planted them from seed in a very small 4'x1.5' planter in the front yard with direct morning sun. It is amazing what will grow out a very small piece of dirt in an urban garden setting as long as that dirt is very enriched with fertilizers and nutrients.
They were hiding in the foliage of beans, peas, herbs, and pickling cucumbers, as well as some herbs Mrs Thumb planted on the right hand side.

The Last Batch

A nice bunch of ripe tomatoes that are going to be turned into stewed tomatoes. The bowl in front is all Romas. If you have never grown them, they are real meaty and flavorful. They develop into a larger plant and seem to take longer to mature then most of the other varieties. Also notice the oblong shape to these. There is a few Lemon Boys left that are a low acid variety and really good eating. The two bowls in the back are just a mixture of Celebrity, Champion, and Beefsteak.

We didn't grow any exotic varieties this year. Just the regular standbys and they came through with over 800 tomatoes. A huge crop for a small urban garden.

Peppers in a Pot

I planted three un-known pepper starts in this rather shallow pot just for kicks. There is a bunch of small peppers developing, and the plants seem to be healthy, but it is like they are dwarfs. The dirt is potting soil, so I am guessing they need more nutrients to really develop into full size plants.

The little peppers are yellow and some on the other side are green.

A Tired Garden

Looking out from the back deck you can see the giant sunflowers are starting to give into the heat and bow down. The entire tomato garden has stopped growing and seems to be putting their energy into the remaining fruit. I don't know how many pounds we have taken out of these plants but my guess would be around 175 with another 50 pounds still on the plants.

The pickle/cucumber plants are really slowing down also. Although there is still a bunch hiding in the foliage. This was our best year ever with this type of crop. We always grew enough to eat but the plants always ended up moldy and were never really healthy.

The sunflowers always look sad to me when they have matured. They served their purpose providing shade, and if you look close you can see the healthy bean plants behind this giant sunflower. It won't be long and the birds and squirrels will be eating the seeds.

Here is the mighty crookneck squash. Definitely an incredible plant that surprised us with the amount of squash it would provide. The 100 degree heat and old age is starting to get the best of this plant now. Look closely at the bottom right hand side and you will see it is still cranking out squash. Mrs. Thumb made 24 large loafs and 12 small loafs of bread, 6 pints of pickles, as all we could eat this summer. This plant produced more food then any other plant in the garden this year....hands down.