I think I mentioned sometime in the not too distant past that my son Benjamin, (really just Ben – Benjamin is usually reserved for those occasions when we need to make a point), has started a vegetable garden in his front yard. His growing environment is very much like Houston but on average it can be a degree or two cooler and possibly a little more rain.

Talking rain…..this past weekend we had a ¼ inch on one day and 2.9 the next. For the metric folks the 2.9 is about 7.4 cm. It fell in just about an hour of intense downpour. I have raised beds for this reason, really one of many reasons, otherwise the plants would have soggy feet during the spring and summer rains.

Ok, let’s get back to Ben and his Baton Rouge, Louisiana growing efforts. He planted the first seeds in early June, some sugar snap peas….I smiled when he mentioned the peas. I suggested that they may not do well at this time of year. They sprouted shot up a bit and I never heard much more until he told me that they had expired, died, shriveled up, became compost material and just really browned up nicely in the BR heat.

Ben came home for a few weeks at the end of his summer session, puttered around, fished a little, watered for me when I was out of town and played with his dog, Sierra. We talked about his little plot in the front yard and what he thought he might plant for the fall. Most of my suggestions were dismissed – I proposed some items that would grow well and are good for him. Ben does not eat much that is green in color…..that pretty well limits his choices. He does love one green item – Jalapeno peppers. He adds them to his pepperoni pizza, sandwiches and other college kid snack fare.

Just before he headed back to school last week, I bought him a couple of Jalapeno pepper plants from the local nursery up at the front of Kingwood. They are local folks, they know the growing environment and what grows best. They tend to stock the plant varieties that the big box stores don’t. I scored a couple of Juliet tomato plants for my fall planting. I love this indeterminate variety of tomato and missed having them available for my spring and summer choices. I am hoping that I will have a good harvest before it gets too chilly and the days too short. The pepper plants – well they seem to be able to overwinter here with a little care.

The pepper plants in Ben’s bed show evidence of a little too much water but they are hardy plants. Ben is studying construction management at LSU and seems to like having everything plumb, square and laid out nicely. You may notice that he has laid a grid….square foot gardening style, in his beds….I am not so precise in my plantings!!!!!

Ben’s Jalapeno – one of two in his front yard plot