On the last hot-weather crops

Bell, Hungarian and jalapeno peppers

I pulled the pepper plants on Tuesday.  It was time.

Are you this way?  I always get a little wistful when *the last* of a year’s crop goes into the compost.  And peppers make me positively misty, their green fleshy leaves, their blossom-tipped branches.  The solanaceae family (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes) is the one crop we most identify with summer, and for good reason:  these plants all have tropical origins, and thus are tricked into thinking ours is the Forever Summer that is life in the tropics.  Tomatoes have figured it out, growing and definitely dying within a season, but the others haven’t really given up their desire to be perennials, bushy perennials.  Such is the case, certainly, with my peppers.

Granted, greenhouse-grown peppers have the benefit of season extension a month, two, beyond what is considered Death To Pepper Weather.  And in all honesty, these beauties could’ve held on a while longer.  But, I needed the beds!  Garlic-planting season is nigh.  It is time to say hello to 2010 crops, farewell 2009.

But:  I am still a bit misty.  Sniff!

8 responses to “On the last hot-weather crops

  1. What I most identify with is the “gotta go, need your spot!” feeling. I just found tomatoes ripening on the vines in the compost bin. . .

    The peppers are still hanging on, although I don’t know whether to keep them or say sayonara.

  2. I’ve still got tons of jalapenos and Red Hot Caribbean peppers ripening on the vine, so I’m loathe to pull them yet. I’d have to make room in the freezer if I did. :o/

    Hey, this year we thought we’d try to make our annual cranberry sauce with a bit of spice. We are putting some RHC’s in it for our more spicy friends. We made one batch, one bag to 3 peppers. WOW! WAY.TOO.SPICY. It was more like hot pepper sauce with a hint of cranberry instead of the other way around. We put whole peppers in, with seeds and membranes. My DH NEVER puts s&m’s in anything. We watched Diners, Dives and Drive-ins on TV and they all put the s&m’s in everything so he thought ‘heck, why not?’ and swears never to believe them again. We’ll try again, one more bag to 2 peppers this time, but with no s&m’s. I think it will be good, when we finally get the recipe down.

  3. I did the last clearing of my garden for the season on Sunday, and it was a very sad event, in many ways. The bright spot was a volunteer pea plant – what a surprise, still green and growing even in November. (No peas though).
    Are you wintering many of your plants? I’ve got basic perennial herbs (e.g. mint) and some spinach/greens that will stay for a while, but other than that, its pretty much over. I miss the colorful peppers.

  4. While my peppers did very poorly this year, my “Little Fingers” eggplant was amazing, I just today cut off the last of the eggplants. Granted , they were quite small, but I never thought to have eggplant still outdoors in mid-November.

  5. I’m with you on the space-hogging. In fact, you just gave me an idea. I’ll pull the peppers (nothing growing anyway) and put the garlic in their spot! It’s still November, right? Yay, my first garlic bed.

  6. Stef, you’re in the enviable position (even this late in the season) of having more beds than you’ve used before, so those peppers probably aren’t sitting on terribly valuable real estate. How exciting for you, incidentally! But, alas, they’ll all get filled much quicker than you would think they would.

    Jules, that’s hilarious! I am really not much of a hot pepper fan; I think I need to simply grow a lot more different types before I find the one that “sings” to me. But the spicy cranberry sauce DOES sound terribly intriguing. I would probably do it 1:1 because I am such a pepper wimp. (Spicy curry, spicy Thai or Szechwan, stand back though!) Is that a Food Network show? Don’t get the channel but the idea sounds intriguing.

    Hiya MC. I do know what you mean. There’s a lot out here still. I mainly overwinter the root crops and leeks but there’s celery and chard out there still, it’ll just slowly freeze and get fed to the rabbits (pet rabbits horrors no wild ones please!). Next August you should plant some fall peas! I never get as many of them as spring but it’s still a fun crop to grow when it’s cool.

    Welcome, Alison. I love your stuff. Hey, yeah, I know my eggplant hits their stride about when I am truly sick of them. I’m past eating them now so I am quite jealous of your little harvest! Hope you have great plans for them.

    CC!!! Yay. And be a good girl and plant a bunch of skinny worthless cloves in a small round patch, about an inch or two apart. You’ll get garlic greens this way, and–prepare yourself–green garlic to top your soups, or just eat chopped! Yum.

  7. I know the feeling but I really love this time of year in my garden – the bugs and weeds have mostly given up for they year, and all the stuff I planted back in August is really looking great.

    I finally got the strawberry patch renovated, garlic planted, fall compost piles built, and cold frames set up last weekend. For almost a year now there has been something to eat out of my garden (or unheated greenhouse) every day.

    And with the cool weather lately I’ve hardly broken a sweat.

    I love Autumn.

  8. David, yeah, I would imagine you really do welcome fall: your summers are brutally hot compared to ours! Doesn’t it feel good to tick all those things off your list? And indeed, things look really good at this time of year without the bothering of bugs…my broccoli and cauliflower are superb now. Yay.

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