‘Sweet Banana’ peppers mature, when grown from seed, in about 72 days. ‘California Wonder’ bell peppers mature in about 75 days. I have seeds for both of these in my “seed stash” in the fridge. When I was planning my summer, I knew that we would be gone for 77 days. Can you see where this is heading?
I learned that peppers can survive without much attention in my summer garden
Last spring, in mid-April, I started one each of the two kinds of peppers and planted them in my small garden before we left home. They both had just four leaves. They were too tiny to need any kind of support at the time, but I pushed an assortment of wire things into the ground around them, to hold them up as they grew.
No one watered them while we were gone. No one fertilized, and no one weeded.
When we got back, the two plants were in the middle of a weed patch, but they both had produced peppers. They were easier to weed than the chicory.
The pepper production increased after I poured some dilute fish fertilizer around them. As usual, the ‘Sweet banana’ is making many more peppers than the ‘California wonder’. They both will continue to provide peppers until the first hard frost.
Basil, ‘Red Rubin’, is another survivor
Another crop that went into the garden before we went away was ‘Red Rubin’ basil.
I planted these in two separate patches. One patch already had flowers when we returned, but the other still is flower-free. That is the patch I am harvesting basil leaves from, to use in the kitchen.
‘Red Rubin’ has dark purplish leaves and a good basil flavor. The pesto made from it isn’t green, but that is ok.
This variety is resistant to basil downy mildew, which has been ruining basil harvests around here for a few years now. The disease resistance is why I chose this basil as the one to grow while we were away.
Native bees on native plants
At last year’s Pollinator Symposium (described on the events page of Monarchs Across GA), I picked up a native coneflower seedling for my garden. The plant grew, and it seems happy; it was flowering when we got back, almost four weeks ago, and it is still making more flowers.
The flowers are attracting some very cute, tiny native bees. These are not the kinds of bees that live in hives; they are more likely to live alone in burrows underground. The one in the picture has pollen caught in the hairs on its back legs.
Are there “survivor” crops in your garden?
If you’ve planted a garden and then not tended it for several (or 11!) weeks, what crops have survived the neglect and managed to produce food?