It’s now the latter half of August and, if last year was any indication, that means we’ve just passed the halfway point of the 2018 pepper season. And as of this writing, I’ve picked (according to my nerdy spreadsheet) 1473 pepper pods thus far — give or take a dozen due to miscounting and forgetfulness. I didn’t keep track of my harvests last year, but I feel that I’ve already eclipsed all that I picked in 2017 which is understandable as I’ve not got roughly three times the number of plants.

I couldn’t be more pleased with how the season has gone up until this point and, to be a bit honest, sort of overwhelmed with the shear number of pepper fruit that are slowly taking over my freezer. That number will drop significantly as the days get cooler and I start to pull some out to dry — it’s just too hot and humid to leave a window open while the dehydrator is running right now. At any rate, let’s see how all of those plants are doing.

Home Plants

Pepper plants
Pepper plants

As you can see in the two photos above, the raised bed plants are massive! Several of them are taller than the fence the beds parallel. Granted, these are raised beds so the plants have a head start on the height race, but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say several of them are just about five fee tall. They’re so dense as well, that getting along between the beds and the fence is next to impossible in some spots. Part of that is my fault for not leaving enough room, but as you can see, these plants have some girth.

Pepper plants

The bucket plants aren’t quite as sizable, but with their limited space for root growth that’s to be expected. They are all looking great and have shared a plethora of peppers with me so far this season. I believe all of them are done with their first run and have been putting out new blossoms that should be ready for picking in October if the weather mimics what we experienced in the area last year.

Pepper plants

Most of the raised bed plants, since I’ve been continuously picking peppers, have been in a steady cycle of blossom, fruit, repeat. In the photo above you can see all three stages. I’m a firm believer that you get more peppers by picking peppers — it encourages the plants to continue to put out more fiery goodness.

Overflow Plants

Just about all of the plants at the overflow plot hare doing great. I’ve had one JalapeƱo plant (standard green variety) that’s taken a beaten from storms and I think it may be on its last leg as of yesterday. The rest of the plants, as you can see in the immediate below photo are thriving. They aren’t as tall as the home plants, but are equally as dense. They’re so full, in fact, that it’s next to impossible to get down some of the rows that I had earlier in the season. The branches are intertwined with their neighbors across the row.

Pepper plants

I’ve had more issues with these plants than with the home plants. The soil doesn’t drain particularly well so I’ve been dealing with a good amount of end rot on several of the superhot plants. I believe, as I work the plot over the next few years and amend as necessary that drainage issue will hopefully be a thing of the past in future endeavors.

Pepper plants

Despite the issues with the soil and weather, these plants have been quite hardy and, at this point in the season, have out-produced the home-based plants (which are quickly catching up). I’ve got some ideas for next year about hot to improve this particular plot, but those will remain scribbled on notebook paper until I get them into a more organized “lessons learned” post later this year.

In the meantime, I’m going to figure out what to do with all of those nearly 1500 peppers. Happy growing!