Looking back I can see that I sowed the chilli seeds in January last year and we had already seen the first seedlings popping up by now and so it would make sense to say that in sowing the first of our seeds today, we are a tad behind. However, a more detailed study of last years growing season reminds me that whilst we had indeed sown the first chilli seeds back in mid January, once they had poked their heads above the compost, they opted not to spread out their roots very much, until the much warmer weather arrived some weeks later. In fact so slow was their growth, so reluctant were they to throw out more roots, develop more leaves and branches, that I began to wonder if the whole crop was destined to fail. Thankfully their slow start didn’t have too many repercussions later on in the season, as we had one of the best chilli harvests ever.
So this year, with seed, compost and new seed trays bought, I pondered on what to do for the best. Even in the house, the temperature was dropping very low overnight and even some days it struggled to reach a tolerable level even with the log burner supporting the Rayburn. Not the ideal weather for seed germination and chilli seeds take an absolute age to get going. With that in mind I have put off starting the seeds for as long as I can but, ever mindful of the unpredictable British summer and the very real danger of early drops in temperature as Autumn approaches, I decided that to stand any chance of getting a useable, ripened crop, I couldn’t delay the sowing any longer.
This afternoon the girls and I transformed the kitchen floor into a makeshift potting shed and got sowing.
Into the 84 cell seed tray we sowed:
14 cells of Patio chillies. These tiny red chillies have been a favourite of Muds’ ever since I first started growing them some six years or so ago. They pack quite a punch for such a tiny pod but pickled, fresh or dried and used as chilli flakes, they add a tidy kick to whatever they’ve been added to;
12 cells of Curry chillies. With an average of 10 seeds in a pack, these were my gamble purchase for last season. I’d never seen them before but I liked the idea of a specific chilli for use in curry, as Mud is partial to Indian food. My oh my were they a success. Tenish plants didn’t sound like a lot but the crop these plants produce was phenomenal, with dozens and dozens of long, slim green pods. But it was Muds’ reaction to the pods which made them such a worthwhile purchase. When it comes to spice/chilli heat Mud is almost impervious which means that he gets extremely frustrated when he buys something that’s marked as ‘hot’ and finds that in Muds’ asbestos mouth universe, it’s actually mild. So it was that he decided that the same theory applied to ‘hot’ Curry chillies (as per the seed packet) and liberally added four of the slim 3 to 4 inch long chillies to his curry one evening last summer ……. I have never seen Mud THAT particular shade of red before! In fact I have never seen THAT particular shade of red period! Needless to say, Curry chillies are now a must grow in Mudville;
21 Jalapeno seeds into 7 cells. Another success story from last season, as a bumper crop produced half a dozen large jars of sliced pickled Jalapenos which Mud has been using on pizzas, in chillies, on Tacos, Enchiladas etc etc etc. Again a relatively small number of plants produced a large quantity of chillies and Mud has declared them far better than shop bought and would like twice as many this year;
14 Hungarian Hot Wax chilli seeds into 7 cells. I’ve tried these before and the only reason I’m growing them this year is because they came as a part of a seed collection ‘Peppers’ mixed packet and I wasn’t about to waste them:
14 Red Cherry chillis into 7 cells. Also out of the seed collection packet, this is a new variety for me but according to the seed packet these are very hot round fruits, suitable for pickling. Time will tell but one thing’s for sure, Mud will be a little more retrospect when trying these than he was with the Curry chillies;
14 Sweet Corno Di Toro Rosso Peppers into 7 cells. These were part of a 10 packet free gift with a gardening magazine the other week and look to be a long sweet pepper. I’ve never grown these before but hopefully they’ll be more successful for me than the standard ‘World Beater’ Bell peppers with which I’ve never had much luck; and
14 each of Antohi Romanian, Golden Bell and Friggitello sweet peppers which were all part of the seed collection and are all new varieties to me but that’s what makes gardening exciting – trying new varieties and wondering how they will turn out.
Next five varieties of tomatoes were sown by the Mudlets into a windowsill propagator with 6 cells sown for each one. This year we’re growing: Tomato Shimmer F1 which appears to be a striped almond shaped tomato; tomato Ildi which is a yellow pear drop cherry tomato which was another of the free gift packets; tomato Craigella; tomato Roma which is a plum tomato; and red cherry tomato.
Next they sowed another windowsill propagator with 6 cells each of: Brussel Sprout ‘Evesham Special’; Savoy Cabbage ‘January King 3’; Cabbage ‘Minicole’ which Middle Mudlet grew last year; Corn Salad ‘Medallion’ which was another of the free packets; and the first of this seasons Mixed Salad Leaves.
It’s nice to get the first of the seeds sown, it finally feels like Spring is coming and I have everything crossed that it’s not a long, cold one this year.