Grow box during the summertime – UPDATE


UPDATE: With weather climbing my grow box got up to 111.5 degrees today with the lights off.  If I was using one of those fancy computers with temperature sensors it would have turned itself off by now.  Turning off computer so I will have something working this winter…

[July 25, 2009] I was planning on growing my jalapeno peppers in my grow box this summer, but given the higher than average weather we have been having.

With the weather being in the 90’s 100’s and given the CFLs on average increase the temperature by around 10 degrees the grow box has not been great place to grow plants unless I was thinking of growing cacti.  Looking at my historical data the highest temperature this summer was 107.6 111.5 degrees.

As you can see above I have been making some progress on the computerized grow box, which I will plan on writing it up soon…

Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe

Corn Bean Salsa

My jalapeños peppers have been growing like crazy and I have had to start harvest to prevent the plants from stop producing.  Given my tomatoes are still green I have been itching to do something with them, I decided to make some corn salsa.  Given I couldn’t find a recipe that matched the ingredients I had on hand I decided to make my own.


CVG Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe

  • 2 ears of corn (1-1/2 cups frozen corn)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 chopped seeded jalapeño
  • 1 chopped unseeded jalapeño
  • 1-1/2 cups black beans (canned)

Directions: Cook corn for 2 minutes in boiling water and submerge in ice cold ice water.  This helps stop the corn from cooking any more and also make handling while cutting the kernels a little more pleasant.  Cut off kernels and add to bowl.  Chop/slice remaining ingredients and add to bowl, stir, and refrigerate and serve chilled.

If you like your salsa a little spicier leave both pepper seeded.

How to fertilize/side dress tomatoes/peppers in your garden


When your fruiting plants are flowering and bearing fruit this is a good time to give them a little extra boost.  Though you don’t want to throw any old fertilizer at them at this point.  You want them to get the nutrients they need to produce high yields of produce, though you don’t want to shock them with an abundance of nitrogen to stimulate new vegetative growth when you would rather the plant expend its energy making you food.

The solution to this problem is to provide your plants with a low dose of balanced fertilizer.  I couple of my favorites are compost and alfalfa pellets applied every couple weeks while the plants are blooming/fruiting.  This ensures the plants have all the nutrients they be lacking without throwing the plant into a growth spurt.

If you have a little extra time take the compost and add some water and let it sit in the sun for several hours and water or spray onto the foliage for a great dose of compost tea.

If you forgot to apply a little bone meal when you planted your peppers/tomatoes this is also a good time to sprinkle a handful under your plants and work into the couple inches of soil to provide your plants with a boost of phosphorous and also a little calcium to help prevent blossom end rot.

Hopefully with these tips you can help your green tomatoes turn into bright delicious red tomatoes.

If you want to learn more about the chemistry of organic fertilizers I have a whole post on that subject