Friday, July 15, 2011

Week of July 4 2011 : Victory (?)

Here is a photo I am particularly proud to share. It is a few rows of peppers. For me though it represents several victories.

First, I accepted that I need to trellis peppers. Pepper plants are brittle and stalks will snap under average fruit load. Late summer thunderstorms hasten the destruction. Here the stakes are set every third plant and sandwiched between two strands of twine. I think this is called the San Diego string type trellis.

Next, I accepted that black plastic mulch is not sufficient weed control. Holes need to be cut in the mulch to set the transplants. I am not a surgeon ... so the holes are larger than necessary which promotes weed growth. This year I mulched the plants with leaf humus to prevent the opportunistic weeds.

Finally, I am actually using the irrigation / fertigation system. Rather than turning on irrigation when the plants begin to droop, I planned out an irrigation and nutrition strategy. The result is the plants have a lot more vegetative growth and almost no fruit lost to blossom end rot. Green plants look nicer in the field, sure, but the benefit is the leaves shade the fruits and reduce sun scald.

I wont declare victory yet but the peppers are poised for their best finish ever.

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