GARDEN ACTIVITIES FOR MAY
VISIT US AT THE AUBURN SPRING HOME SHOW
May 18, 19 & 20
Stop by and visit us on the patio at Rose Point near the High St. entrance during show hours. Ask questions, enjoy our display, sit in the shade or just say hi!
PEPPER SEASON IS HERE!
May brings out thoughts of May Day and hanging flower baskets on door knobs, ringing the bell, and then running to hide. It also brings thoughts of Cinco de Mayo and mariachi bands, and salsa and chips which, in turn, brings thoughts of peppers, both sweet and hot! So let’s talk about peppers this month
Peppers are generally broken into two categories, sweet peppers and hot peppers, but not all sweet peppers are bells and not all hot peppers are as spicy as Jalapeños or Habañeros. While bell peppers are the best known of sweet peppers, there are also varieties such as the sweet banana pepper, sweet cherry pepper, and our favorite, the Sweet Spanish pepper. Hot peppers range in heat from the mild Ancho/poblano type to the fiery hot Ghost and Carolina Reaper, based on the amount of capsaicin in the peppers. At the nursery, we grow 36 varieties of sweet and hot peppers, so there ought to be one for everybody’s enjoyment.
Peppers are a warm season crop, technically perennials, but grown as annuals in our climate. They set fruit best when temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees F, something we don’t always have. And they need a relatively long warm season, something we usually do get. Soil temperatures should be up to about 60 degrees before you plant (remember the old idea: if you can’t sit in your garden for 30 minutes without getting a cold bottom, the soil isn’t warm enough!). Full sun is okay, but a little filtered shade can sometimes help prevent sunburn on your peppers, especially in our hottest days, and improve fruit set. The best crops are often harvested in the fall months, September and October. Remember, regular deep watering and fertilizing is essential to getting a good crop!!
Getting back to salsa and chips, Earlene pulses an assortment of tomatoes (don’t use just one variety or color) in the food processor until chunky, not pureed. Pour into bowl and salt to taste. Then pulse roasted jalapeño peppers with skin removed, pickled Eisley wax peppers with a little pickling juice, lots of garlic, red onion, yellow onion, cilantro (you can never have too much cilantro) and limes (cut off skin, remove seeds and pulse whole fruit). Add to tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, dried or fresh oregano and cumin to taste. Everybody’s taste is different so no specific measurements are given – make it the way you like it! And of course, you can always substitute your favorite peppers for her suggestions.
Look Out for Snails, Slugs and other Thugs!
Look out for snails and slugs in your vegetable and flower gardens. They love the shade from plants and the moisture from our watering. They also love the tender new leaves of our plants. Use Monterey Sluggo granules, a safe product to use around pets and kids.
If you are bothered by earwigs, cutworms and other pests, check out the Monterey Sluggo Plus, which safely kills snails and slugs, and also a wide variety of other pests.
CHECK OUT AND CORRECT YOUR IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Our irrigation system is only as good as we set it up and maintain it to be. Remember that as time passes, your living landscape changes, growing larger root systems, and being replaced as plants die.
As plants grow or are replaced we need to evaluate their changing needs and adjust emitters and frequency of watering accordingly.
Also, if an emitter breaks or gets clogged, it doesn’t take long before the damage is done in summer heat. So check your system regularly to make sure it is working correctly.