Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden) Garden Peppers

Red Peppers, Gardening, and Alice

Need some encouragement this morning?

Alice, my friend, reader, and seasoned gardener started a new garden “from scratch” when they moved to Northern Nevada.  Alice told me they had one sloping acre of rock and horrible soil three years ago when they moved in.  When she wrote to me this year in May she said,

“Now in our 3rd year the soil in the beds is just amazing. I used non treated glass clippings, leaves, topsoil, shredded brown paper bags, cardboard, egg cartons and our own compost to layer the beds. Cover with straw and let them sit until planting time. We get some snow in the Winter, but this year was a warm one and your winter sown project was perfect. I was able to utilize the garden space for additional months.”

As I said — Alice is a seasoned gardener in her early 70’s and it makes me happy that she’s benefiting from TMG.

She wrote to me this morning and in two short sentences and one picture put the icing on the cake:

“Thank you for your post about all peppers (bell) turning red if left on the plant. It worked.”

Alice’s red bell peppers.

Good job Alice!  Thanks for sharing.


Other Posts on Peppers:

Peppers – Almost an Extra Month of Red Ones

Peppers – Can’t Get Sweet Red Ones? Here’s How

Seed Starting – Peppers an Observation

Peppers – It Ain’t Necessarily So


Organic gardening is easy, efficient, effective — and it’s a lot healthier.


All content including photos is copyright by TendingMyGarden.com. All Rights Reserved.


  • That is SO encouraging. Did she start improving her soil right away when she moved there three years ago, or is this just after ONE season of layering on all the improvements? If so, then is she saying that she ‘built’ the soil in just a year?

  • Sandra, I know Alice has seen the post already because she sent me an email early this morning.
    I’ll email her and tell her about your questions. I’m sure she’ll answer soon.

  • I just wanted to ask your opinion on using, “glass clippings, leaves, topsoil, shredded brown paper bags, cardboard, egg cartons and our own compost to layer the beds.” Grass clippings and leaves are great. However, the topsoil, brown paper bags, cardboard, and egg cartons I would never use in my garden. Mainly b/c I know they contain glue and inks and I have found it next to impossible to determine what the paper bags, paper in the cardboard, egg carton materials are made of. About the topsoil, that I find difficult too. I’ve gone out to buy topsoil before and it ends up that you never know for sure what is in it or where it came from – especially since Scott is leading in the bagged this and thats. I buy topsoil and potting soil from a local and certified organic farm. What do you think of these things?

  • Yes, unsprayed grass clippings and leaves are indeed GREAT!

    Topsoil from your own property is great because you know how it’s been cared for. I would not have topsoil brought in because you don’t know what’s been done or where it came from — as you said. And the bagged stuff — unless you are REALLY sure of the source — I would not use either. It’s excellent, Bearfoot Mama, that you can obtain topsoil and potting soil from a local and certified organic farm. Good job!

    Long years ago I used paper bags, cardboards and egg cartons. At this point in time I will not use it. You mentioned glue and inks as a concern —- but they’re not the only concern. Most boxes and bags may be sprayed with insecticides at some point — if not many points in their life. Warehouses and stores do this to keep insects down or undercontrol. I don’t want to take the chance on bringing that to my garden.

    Since Lasagna gardening has become popular —- the use of cardboard and bags is even more popular than in the past. I read all the time on forums of gardeners using it.

    Again — if you can get plain cardboard and bags that you know are free from pesticides — great! Otherwise – I would recommend steering clear of them.

    My approach is to stay as far away from the questionable stuff as I can.

  • First off all we used grass clippings, not glass clippings. LOL…..so sorry for the spelling error.
    Thank you all for your interest.

    The soil in the raised beds (cinder block) was built up gradually. We measured out the beds, starting with a few, double dug and screened all the soil. We screened enough rock and gravel to put on the path ways in the garden. The topsoil (and any plants we buy) came from a totally organic nursery. We started with beds one block high and each year purchased more blocks (used from Craigs list) to make the beds higher and added additional soil.

    We have a large compost pile, a free standing composter and chickens. The straw from the chickens bedding goes into the garden after it sits for 6 months to a year. Also a large family as we live with our children (downstairs). All kitchen scrap goes into the compost unless the chickens can eat it.

    Our sons work for the city and are friends with the arborist and he lets us know when some grass clippings are available from a city lot that are safe to use (no chemicals).

    As for cardboard we used that as a base in the very bottom of the beds and only Kraft paper type cardboard with no color or printing on them. The paper bags are from Trader Joe’s and we shred them. The egg cartons are the recyclable ones and have no colored ink (although most inks now are soy and supposedly safe).

    We use no insecticides, unless it is an absolutely necessity (like when the rolly pollys kept eating my green bean seedlings) this year. Thank you Theresa for your help. (NOTE from Theresa: It’s my understanding that Alice uses organic insecticides when she chooses to use them..)

    It was and still is a lot of work to maintain a garden in this high desert (dry) area. But the rewards are tremendous. Any time I do not feel like getting out there and working I just look at my shelves with all the home preserved veggies and fruits and my energy is renewed. We have made many mistakes along the way and hopefully learned from them. However there are always so many new adventures awaiting any gardener.

    I plan on expanding the variety of peppers this years and am trying to talk my husband into making me a “corn field”, we have staked off a sloped area near the garden and have been stacking the retired garden plants there and it looks promising. We acquired a big load of virgin soil from a new freeway site and will fill in with that after it is screened. Soil is at a premium here as we are mainly hills and rock. Hopefully the corn patch will materialize before the snow flies and can sit and decompose throughout the Winter. In closing I feel confident that we have produced safe and quality food for our family to eat. That is my main concern. The enjoyment of gardening is the bonus.

  • Thanks Alice for the detail. It was so interesting to hear what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. To answer Sandra’s question, I think you are saying that it took 3 years to build the soil. Correct?

  • Yes, the beds were built up over a period of years. It actually was 4 years as the first beds we established were located over the leach field and that was a no no in my book. We moved the beds to another level.Thank you for the compliment Sandra. I also have to add how fortunate I feel to have found Tending my Garden and Theresa.

  • Thanks for the clarification Alice!
    I’m so glad you’ve found TMG helpful! That sure was a nice thing to say.
    I’m the one whose fortunate to have such wonderful readers!

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