2014 has been one of the most interesting/challenging pepper growing seasons I’ve ever had.
I moved to Duluth Minnesota in the middle of winter and let’s just say it was pretty cold. Spring started a lot later than I’m accustomed to. When I lived in Illinois I typically panted out mid May, sometimes even early May. This year it was 10 or so days into June before I could get the plants outside and even after they were out the temps and weather were still not really cooperative until almost July.
First frost in Duluth is typically mid September (vs mid October in IL) so I’m losing time on the back end of the season as well as on the start. Even if I get a greenhouse up this year (50/50 chance at this point) there’s zero chance I’ll get any super hots, the plants are still tiny and not even close to setting first pods much less ripening. I should get some cayennes even without a greenhouse but not even close to what I’m used to.
Getting the first garden setup was a challenge. I live on a heavily wooded lot so there’s not a lot of sun. I found a space that would suffice but it took a lot of work to clear and even get close “garden ready”. It’s a lot of clay and rock with a lot of brush and downed trees that needed to be cleared.This is what the space looked like after a few hours of clearing. It’s still not where I want it to be…that will take a few seasons I’m sure.
I put up some fencing to keep the rabbits and deer out. I’ve told once it starts to cool off a little more they will eat everything they come across. I’ll probably have to install more fencing over the next few weeks. I planted tomatoes, sweet peppers, a few super hots (bhuts) and cayennes. One side the garden doesn’t get enough sun so the sweet peppers won’t produce this year. Cayennes are doing ok but super hots are like 4 inches tall in Late July so no bhuts from my garden this year.
Here’s where things are as of today. Kind of hard to see since everything outside of the fence is solid green but there are pepper plnats in there:-) I threw down cardboard in the garden isles to keep the weeds at bay. I’ve weeded by hand a few times but the mosquitoes have been thick so I don’t spend much time unless I’m covered in 100% deet and even then they seem to sneak by. I’ve also pulled out a couple hundred rocks and poured in top soil and compost I’ve picked up at the store. I like to make my own compost but the Duluth area has more black bears than pretty much anywhere else in the country so have to be really careful about leaving out any kind of food or anything that would attract the bears.
While this year has been challenging I’ve learned a ton about gardening in a whole new climate and should be better prepared next year. I will grow super hots in Duluth, it can be done!