2011 Garden Reflections: Tomatoes & Peppers

As I look back on this second year in this garden, some of last year’s successes were repeated, others were not. Some of last year’s failures were corrected, others were not. Here are part of my reflections. Previous posts were on Root Vegetables, Onion Family Crops and Cucumbers & Squash.


Last year I thought I had crowded my tomatoes too much. My support structure just barley avoided breaking. This year we built a stronger structure and instead of two parrallel rows of plants in the one 3 foot row, I just planted one down set down the center (25 plants instead of 50). I thought the plants would use the extra room to produce just as much. Here’s how the row looked in early summer.

I was sorely disappointed and my tomato yield was under 5o pounds, when last year it was over 140 pounds.  I had to buy tomatoes to can for salsa and didn’t make any sauce.
One of last year’s successes that I built upon was my early tomatoes. Last year I’d planted 4 plants early in walls of water. This year I planted 7. I chose a variety of early bearing and longer bearing plants, including a Sungold cherry tomato. This meant that we did have our first tomatoes much earlier in the summer than in other years. In fact, the Sungold began ripening fruit at the beginning of July and the Black Prince & Cosmonaut Volkov ripened in the middle of July. Here’s one of the early tomatoes.

Next year I’ll increase the number of early plants to as many walls of water as I have since it does dramatically extend my season earlier. I’ll also be back to 50 plants :)

The row above had artichokes, tomatillos, peppers & eggplants. The artichokes were not successful, not blooming this year.


This is the first year I’ve grown regular sized tomatillos. I knew that I needed to stake the plants after the pineapple tomatillos we grew last year. I used twine to tie the plants to the stake, and then later to contain the branches. The tomatillos yielded a good 18 lbs. We enjoyed a Chili Verde recipe many times in both enchiladas and as a chicken dish. Next year I need to find a good salsa recipe for them.

Hot & Spice Peppers

This year was a much better year for both hot and sweet peppers.
I planted quite a lot of hot peppers this year: a hot pepper variety mix, cayenne, & jalapenos. They produced very well and we have many drying in the kitchen. I also planted paprika peppers with seed from Robin. These produced a few peppers. We smoked some and dried others but I haven’t tried grinding them into paprika powder yet.

Sweet Peppers

I planted Chocolate bell peppers, Carmen & Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers. I was very pleased with the Carmen & Jimmy Nardellos. They produced well and turned red fairly quickly. The bell pepper did fine as well. My close spacing of the peppers worked out well. They were spaced two each in the three foot width, and of-set with the next pair by 6 inches or so.


The eggplant plants grew fine this year, but the blooms did not set. We got one lone eggplant :( Next year will be our last attempt with eggplant and if we don’t succeed then we won’t try again.

More crops another day…

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