Ascending up to the front door of our new place is a series of cracking concrete steps. They are fully exposed to the sun and I predict that in combination with the metal railings, they should prove to be a hot spot by mid-summer.
Since moving in I’ve been contemplating what to grow there. The steps are thin so I could not install large pots that would impede the mail man’s ability to get to the box. They’re in front of the house, and now for the first time in my life I am actually considering the neighbours. To a degree. This isn’t the suburbs after-all. Fortunately, I live in a mixed ethnicity, working class neighbourhood so it’s not an external pressure to “Keep up with the Jones” but more about not inciting bad blood with the Castilhos or receiving hostile stares from the De Silvas.
People grow their own food here, always have, and I suspect that the lack of large, old trees in the neighbourhood is the result of the importance that is placed on growing a good tomato crop. It’s not uncommon or breaking an unspoken social contract to grow food out front in these parts. I’m not breaking new ground in doing so, although where I suspect I will be is in some of my methods.
But I digress. My stoop is eight steps high. When it came time to plant, it was by chance that I happened to have exactly eight sap buckets, one for each step. I’ve been using these thin, but deep buckets for years to grow hot peppers and dwarf tomato varieties. The plants can take the heat absorbed by the metal and since the containers fit perfectly on the steps without getting in the way, it just happened to be the perfect place for them.
Since they are going to be out front, I placed some importance on aesthetics. I like the repetition of the same container sitting on each step. I chose varieties that would not only thrive in the containers, but also look nice. I grew all of them from seed, starting with a few slow varieties in February and the rest in March.
- Dwarf Tomato ‘Hahms Gelbe’ – Has pretty, compact foliage and produces yellow cherry tomatoes.
- Hot Pepper ‘ Chocolate Habenero’ – The foliage is uninteresting, but the fruit eventually turn a chocolatey brown and hang like little lanterns.
- Hot Pepper ‘Purple Cayenne’ – Pretty purple foliage and stems with purple flowers, followed by purple fruit.
- Hot Pepper ‘Filius Blue’ – Shown in first photo above. Compact purple foliage, flowers, and fruit that eventually turn red.
- Hot Pepper ‘Golden Nugget’ – Variegated foliage produces small, square-ish green peppers that turn orange.
- Holes were punched into the bottom of the pot using a large nail. I’ve had these pots for many years so that was done long ago.
- One plant per pot.
- I mulched each container with straw to lock in moisture and cool things down a bit. They are predicting a hot and dry summer.