Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pepper Thoughts

I've been pondering the possible issues on the balcony that has turned into a place of dread for seedlings and transplants everywhere. It is a windy, open spot and this past week has been a particularly gusty one, not to mention pretty cool in temperature. Yes, there are many people growing peppers and the like successfully on balconies and rooftops; however, one of the interesting notes in The City Gardener's Handbook is the idea of microclimates existing in such spaces. The example is the converse of my situation - a perennial that, "according to the canons of zone maps won't tolerate New York cold," but was thriving on an eighteenth-floor terrace (it was a south-facing terrace with walls that all but eliminated the wind and retained the radiant heat of the building).

You'll notice in the picture that the white side of the EB cap is facing out, as opposed to the recommended black side. While I was transplanting, I had noted the soil temperature at the surface was over 100 degrees F and 90 degrees at about 5" deep - on a day during which the high was probably 80F. This balcony gets sun pretty much the entire day, which is why I chose it as a site for sun-lovers such as peppers. Coupled with the summer wind, it may be more akin to a desert, and not really ideal for anything. My blueberry bushes are there too and unfortunately, those are in a planter that is not being moved any time soon.

So, on that balcony in EBs I have a rosa bianca eggplant transplant that seems to be doing well, a tomato plant gift from greenscaper that is hanging on, and two basil plants that went in after the peppers were pulled up. I may grab a few more test subject peppers this Wednesday (and maybe more eggplant just in case).

Stay tuned. 

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