This Summer was and forever will be; The Year of the Bell Pepper! I have never had much success with bell peppers, which really chapped me, because they are sooo expensive in the store! Here at Bloom Where You’re Planted we pretty much only eat what we can grow on the homestead, so I was really missing bell peppers. The day a friend visited my garden changed everything. He said, “Those peppers need a little afternoon shade.” I looked side long at my wimpy pepper plants and questioned, “How am I supposed to provide shade?” He chuckled and replied, “Well that’s not for me to figure out now, is it?”
I guess I was over thinking the whole problem, because when I thought shade, I thought shade from above. The problem with shade from above is that there is a strong wind that sweeps over the plains through Oklahoma and across Texas. This wind has taken every shade structure I have ever tried to build and cast it aside like an afterthought.
I have seen only one serious, cemented posts shade cloth, amazing structure and that is at http://bontonfarms.org/ in downtown Dallas. I wonder how many city officials would be at my door if I tried that in the city of Richardson? Oh, how I admire it though! Oh, and how I long to make it happen over my garden! Alas there is a fine line, we all have to walk, before we find ourselves in court trying to defend our shade structures. I, myself don’t have the time or the money.
If you are like me and you can’t make shade from above then think of making shade from the side. Let me explain; I had already put cattle panels up to provide support for my tomato plants so all I needed to do was put shade cloth up on that. The sun rose in the East to travel across the great expanse of the sky. My peppers soaked up that beautiful morning/afternoon sun. As that hot afternoon sun started it’s decent into the West it hit the shade cloth and shade, glorious shade!
If you are interested in making shade, from the side with cattle panels, then here is the link to the shade cloth that I used;
- 6 whole bell peppers
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 8 oz ground beef
- 1 medium onion,diced
- 3 cloves garlic,minced
- 1 whole Zucchini, diced
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup cooked rice(if you have beef broth on hand use it instead of water to cook rice, yum!)
- 1 handful of fresh oregano or I tsp of dried oregano
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese(1/2 cup reserved for the tops of peppers)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut off the tops of peppers, remove the seeds and stems, place everything in food processor if you have one, if not then be a chopping wizard and dice everything!
- Cook ground beef in large skillet with onion, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes
- Add cooked rice, oregano and 1½ cups mozzarella cheese.
- Place the bell peppers in baking dish and fill with rice/ground beef mixture.
- Pour a ¼ cup of water in bottom of baking dish.
- Cover with foil and bake 30 min.
- Uncover, top with cheese and bake uncovered another 15-20 min.
All this shade leads me to the best harvest of bell peppers ever! This recipe is kid tested and approved!
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