This year I plan on planting 9 bell pepper plants in 36 square feet in garden bed one. The plot is roughly 6′ x 6′. The plants will be planted 24″ apart in a square plot. I am planting a heirloom bell pepper. The seeds were bought from the Thomas Jefferson Center and they are called bull nose peppers.
The details on the back describe the pepper as a heirloom that goes as far back as the 1700’s. My wife bought these seeds as part of a Christmas gift this year.
The seeds were started indoors in mid February. I planted 15 pots. All are growing well. I will plant the best nine and give my neighbors the remaining viable plants. Planting will happen Memorial Day weekend. As discussed on the garden bed 1 page the entire bed will have peat moss added before planting. Each bell pepper plant will get a 1/2 gallon of organic compost added.
Bell peppers are members of the Nightshade family of vegetables along with potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants. Like chili peppers, bell peppers originated in South America. Bell peppers have vitamin A and are rich in vitamin C and Beta Carotene. According to WHfoods .org, a green pepper has approximately 12% of the daily values of vitamin A, 137% of the daily value of vitamin C and 340mcg of beta carotene. What is interesting is that WHfoods states that red bell peppers have even more vitamin A and C than green bell peppers – go figure!! Bell peppers also supply small levels of vitamin E.
Tomato varieties are the mainstay of many home gardens. When grown correctly fresh garden tomatoes are fantastic. They can be eaten straight from the garden, cooked into sauces, stews, soups – just pick what you like and tomatoes can probably be added. Tomatoes can be easily canned using the hot water method, for directions go to Ball Corp, and can even be frozen. So, any excess fruit grown can be stored for another day. When we have enough, my wife and I stew the tomatoes and can for use in sauces, soups, stews and chili.
Tomatoes have vitamins A, B, C, iron, phosphorous and potassium.
The first of the two tomato varieties I planted for the 2015 garden was a straight forward type called “Abe Lincoln”. It is an organic tomato. It started slow but once it got started it went crazy. Planted – 4 pots with 4 seeds each on March 1. I planted 4 of the plants the 2nd week of June. All are over 6’ tall and as of mid-September have produced a little over 12 lbs. with about twice that amount yet to come. The flesh is firm a solid red and almost a perfect round shape. I really like this tomato, it is juicy but not so much that when cut into there is a mess. Cut a slice and sprinkle some salt – excellent.
The advertising for the Abe Lincoln states: 90 days, indeterminate — ‘Abraham Lincoln’ was originally released by H. W. Buckbee Seed of Rockford, Illinois in 1923. Abraham Lincoln tomatoes are large, meaty, flavorful heirloom tomatoes. There are many exceptional heirloom tomatoes, but ‘Abraham Lincoln’ consistently produces huge crops of extra-large, meaty fruit.
The second tomato variety I chose is an heirloom organic. I picked Botanical Interests Pole Cherokee Purple. I have grown this tomato before and really enjoy it. Pole Cherokee is a big, meaty, tasty hunkin’ tomato. The meat is firm and there really is not a lot of excess juice (which I like).
The company advertising states: 80 days from transplanting. Indeterminate. Cherokee’s rose/purple skin with green shoulders encases red brick colored flesh with just the right level of sweetness. You’ll be harvesting large numbers of 10 to 12 oz. tomatoes from this well regarded heirloom variety from summer to fall. The flavor has been described as yummy, tasty, wonderful, delicious, heavenly, and unbelievable! Provide support for vigorous vines that reach 6 feet or more. The package states organic and labeled NO GMO
Planted – 4 pots with 4 seeds each on March 1. I planted 4 of the plants the second week of June (family vacation trumped planting this year) So far this year, as of September 18th, I picked about 16 lbs. The Cherokee Pole plants are smaller plants than the Abe Lincolns but frankly I think they taste better and grow larger fruits.
I planted 8 plants along the north side of garden bed 1. Spacing is as instructed – 2 feet apart. The other plants in the bed are peppers and eggplants. The spacing away from the tomatoes is also 2 feet. This year I have kept the plants trimmed. I cut off about two thirds of the leaves trying to keep air circulating. Any leaves that hit the ground were immediately removed. Watering was kept on the light side and during the late morning to give the plants time to dry. So far, as of September 18th, all the plants have stayed healthy. I do cage my plants and frankly they do well. What is great – no chemicals used on the plants. Just 2 doses of Miracle Grow 10-10-10 fertilizer early in the season nothing more. About as organic as I get!!!
Over Labor Day my grown children “went shopping” in the garden. Each ended up with tomatoes, as well as other veggies, to bring home.
As of October 11, all tomato plants were pulled. We ended up with 8 plants producing 35 lbs. of tomatoes. That is only 4+ lbs. per plant. In theory we should have been able to grow about 60+ lbs. with 8 tomato plants. With the early summer cold and damp and the summer very dry I can excuse away. Others that also garden stated their tomatoes were somewhat the same as ours so….. Still for the investment in 2 packages of seeds – roughly $4.00 we were able to produce (based on our local supermarket prices of $1.50/lb.) $52.00 in tomatoes for the season. All were eaten, saved and given away.
Just a quick note, I always like to try different ideas. For the 2014 garden I tried growing a tomato from Canada that turned out to be a hybrid. The tomatoes that I took the seeds from were large, juicy and delicious. The tomatoes that grew from the seeds ended up being a plumb tomato. They were not overly tasty at all. So…word of warning.