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Day #14 – Peppers and Eggplant

For today’s 20 minutes, I planted and mulched a “wedge” of jalapeño peppers and a “wedge” of “Ichiban” eggplant.

All I needed to do to prepare the beds was to rake off the brown and shriveled vines from last year. Usually we collect all that material for a compost at the end of the season but the barn builders came too quickly so we didn’t have a chance to put our garden to bed. And seeing how easy it was to rake the dead vines out of the way now, I think we might just skip some of the end-of-season rituals that we used to think were so important.

I used the edge my hoe to dig four holes in a diamond formation. Then I poured a little water in each hole and let it sink in. The peppers and the eggplant both went in the same. When I was finished I took a few handfuls of fresh grass clippings and mulched around all the plants. A good thick layer of mulch is import because part of it’s job is to discourage weeds.

We usually plant two kinds of eggplant. The “Italian” style with its plump round body and dark purple skin which is great for Eggplant Parmesan and Babaganooj. But we also love the slender, lighter purple fruits of the “Asian” style eggplant. Jan has a recipe for stir-fried eggplant with a slightly sweet sauce (of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and mirin) that we VERY much enjoy over helpings of rice.

The little tags for these seedlings say the the jalapeños will mature in 72 days and that the “ichiban” eggplant will mature in 50 – 60 days.

We frequently put cloches over the eggplants until they develop a few extra leaves. They don’t seem to need protection from the cold as much as from these tiny little mites that will eat their leaves to lace. The mites aren’t enough of a problem to investigate poison but we don’t want to stunt the growth of the eggplant when they’re so small.

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