13 August 2021

Recent Harvests from the Container Garden - Pineapple, Bell Peppers, Sweet Potatoes

 July and August in Florida are hot and humid. It is the off-season for growing your own food, but there are still some things producing.

One of my challenges is learning what will grow through this time. Having them in containers means I can move them around, trying to find a bit more shade and relief from the mid-day sun.

The tomatoes are definitely finished, but I am trying to keep the plants going. I am getting a few blooms, but according to a fellow at the farmer's market, they won't set until nighttime temps fall to around 70 degrees F./21 degrees C. I hope I can keep the plants in good shape so once the temps do fall, they will bloom and set the fruit.

One happy surprise this year has been the pineapples. What I have always heard, and have experienced, is it takes two years for a new pineapple plant to produce a pineapple. We had three pineapples last year, and I replanted the tops. I was surprised when in February, I noticed two of the plants setting a fruit! One of them ripened at the end of July and I harvested it.

Red colander with homegrown pineapple and orange bell peppers in it.

I cannot begin to tell you how good it was. The second one is smaller, and still hasn't ripened, so we have something to look forward to. Since the 3rd plant didn't set fruit this year, I hope it does in 2022. It would be nice to have at least one homegrown pineapple every year instead of every other year.

The bell peppers have really produced well this year. They are not very large, but I've harvested at least 2 or 3 every week for over a month. They start out a light green, then gradually turn yellow, then orange, then red. The package recommends picking when they are orange. Those that have gone to red have a little heat to them, which isn't bad. The variety is Garden Sunshine and I bought the seeds from Seed Savers in late 2019.

Here's is another bell pepper harvest, and a few small sweet potatoes.

Orange bell peppers and small sweet potatoes.

The sweet potatoes are pitiful, aren't they? However, I am thrilled. I had a sweet potato sprout in my pantry last fall, so I stuck it in a pot of dirt. It grew slips, which I pulled off and put in another container. I had 4 or 5 in there, which really was too many, but I was experimenting, to see if it worked.

I finally decided to pull some and see what was happening, and this is the result. The one on the bottom is a half-way decent size. I left two of the plants in there in the hopes that additional room will give any other sweet potatoes the space they need to grow a bit. These I harvested are currently curing and then I'll peel and cook them.

One of my best harvests this summer has been the leaves from the sweet potato plants. I got some from the plants in containers, and some from the slips I put in the ground. Here's how they look:

Sweet potato vines and leaves growing in the ground.

I wash and remove the leaves from the stem, then chop and sauté in some avocado or olive oil. Spaghetti sauce flares up my GERD, so this summer I've been adding fresh bell peppers, green onions and fresh herbs to the sweet potato leaves, then tossing it with pasta and some parmesan cheese. It is good and I love that much of my meal comes from my small urban garden.

What are you harvesting from your garden right now?

No comments:

Post a Comment