What I Didn’t Know About Gardens

I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know
What I don’t know about vegetable gardens could fill volumes. As I planned, then planted my first vegetable garden, I knew that I would learn a lot.

Last spring, I admitted “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.” Now after the first growing season, two hailstorms and record heat, I know some of what I didn’t know.

Next Season Garden Changes
First, I will plant my garden in plots, rather than rows. Plots allow for closer planting with a larger yield per square foot. Plots also make it easier to rotate your crops the next season.

Second, with limited space, not only do I want the most produce from my garden, but I want to save the most when I must purchase produce. I will focus on vegetables which are more expensive to purchase. While I will still plant radishes, lettuce and carrots, my focus will be vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes and squash.

Waiting for this eggplant to get just a little bit larger.

Third, I learned which veggies we enjoyed eating the most. While, snow peas are tasty, we really loved the green beans. So next year, I will plant less snow peas and more green beans.

Green, Yellow & Red Bell Peppers
Finally, confession time: I didn’t know anything about growing bell peppers. For those of you who are seasoned gardeners, you will laugh at my ignorance. For those of you who are like me, just beginning to learn about gardening, you might find this helpful.

I included bell peppers in my first veggie garden. We love red bell peppers. I couldn’t find any, so I settled for green. As the summer progressed, I noticed the peppers left on the plant began to turn to yellow. Then after a few days, I saw some red appearing.

I ran to the computer and typed in “Bell peppers. Green, yellow and red bell peppers: What’s the difference?”

I felt foolish when I read:

Green bell peppers are harvested before they are fully ripe, one reason they are less expensive than other varieties. Green bell peppers will continue to first turn yellow and then red if they are left on the plant to mature.

Green bell peppers have a slightly bitter flavor and will never have the sweet taste of their red, yellow and orange counterparts.

More mature than green bell peppers, yellow and orange peppers have a fruity taste but are not as commonly found in local markets as green and red bell peppers.

These are more mature than green, orange or yellow bell peppers. They are rich in carotenoid phytonutrients and contain almost eleven times more beta-carotene than green bell peppers as well as one and a half times more vitamin C. Red Bell Peppers have a sweet, almost fruity taste. Pimento and paprika are both prepared from red bell peppers.

Then I read some interesting facts about red bell peppers compared to green:
Red has 105% of vitamin A’s daily value; Green 12%
Red has 292% of vitamin C’s daily value; Green 137%
Red has 841mg of Beta Carotene; Green 340mg

Next year, I’ll be leaving most of the bell peppers on the plant until they turn RED.

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