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. Continue reading
All I seem to be posting about at the moment is making chilli pickles but I can announce with conviction that this is the last pickling post for this year because today I cleared the last of the pods from my plants and cut healthiest of the plants back to a few inches tall in the hope that they will successfully overwinter. With my chillies washed and drying, I gathered my ingredients for making the pickling liquor and washed and dried the jars I needed. Continue reading
Earlier this week Mud opened one of the jars of Jalapenos I had pickled five weeks ago, to add to his Chicken Fajitas and declared them a success. He told me they were tasty and hot, better than the shop bought ones we spend a small fortune on each year. With lots of chillies still growing in the greenhouses, and handfuls of the incredibly successful Curry Chilli in the freezers, I decided to make a second batch of pickled Jalapenos. Continue reading
Yesterday, the Mudlets were excited to see that in three of the four propagators we planted up last week, there are signs of life. Radish and mixed lettuce have appeared in the green propagator. Mangetout, climbing beans and a runners are popping up in one of the black propagators and mixed winter squash are peeking out in a second black propagator. Still no signs of life in the third black propagator which is home to pumpkins and another winter squash variety, or in Little Mudlets rose tin but Middle Mudlet has emerging seedlings in her tin of Gerbera. I don’t realistically expect the roses to appear for at lest another seven days, though, so all is well. Continue reading
Not entirely sure when a seedling tree becomes a sapling but I like a bit of alliteration in my titles and so ‘Saplings and Seeds’ it is. We have no less than three Christmas Tree babies but oddly enough and to the fascination and wonder of the younger Mudlets, they look remarkably like tiny palm trees. Middle Mudlet has two trees from her pod, both of which are standing straight and proud, and Little Mudlet has one which appears to be a day or two behind Middle Mudlets’ in terms of germination and growth. Both girls are thrilled to pieces and can’t wait for the babies to be big enough to plant on, although they are in big pots already, so it may be that we end up carefully replacing some of the seed compost with fresh all purpose compost in a week or two. I’m going to ask the advice of another blogger who I’ve been following for a year or two and who just happens to live on a farm that, amongst other things, grows Christmas Trees. Continue reading
It has been 3 weeks since the Mudlets sowed the tomato, chilli and sweet pepper seeds and, for the most part, we have had a good number of seeds successfully germinate, resulting in a respectable quantity of seedlings standing tall across two propagators. The propagators have been housed on two windowsills during the day but have spent the night-time on the kitchen worktops, near to the Rayburn, to keep warm and help with germination. It has been bitterly cold most nights which is why I have been moving the propagators away from the windowsills – it is quite surprising just how much cold air window glass can generate, rather like a greenhouse in reverse I guess.
I haven’t planted much in my garden this year, some potatoes in potato bags and tubs, tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies in the greenhouses. Pots of strawberries have been left to their own devices with the minimum of attention, providing us with a lovely crop of berries earlier this year and the rhubarb has grown bigger than ever and is now ready for splitting with a section destined for the school garden. Continue reading
That’s the only way you could describe the state of my largest greenhouse. In fact it was far more than a bit of a mess, it was a bona fide disaster zone and I needed to sort it out pretty quickly. You see with the Jack Frost just around the corner, it was imperative that I moved the chilli plants which were in the smaller greenhouse, into the large one, so that I could set the small one up as the winter lodgings for some of the outdoor plants which weren’t frost hardy.
On a morning like today, with the sun shining and the outdoor temperature an impressive 14.5C, you could almost believe that Winter was finally losing her grip on our part of the world and that Spring had arrived. That’s ‘almost believe‘ though, not ‘know for sure‘ because one thing that gardening has taught me over the last few years is that Ma Nature doesn’t read books and most certainly does not follow all the rules, or that the advice in regards the seasons and specifically their start and end dates, written by experts can only ever be regarded as guidelines, best case scenarios and should not be followed verbatim. Warm as the day is today, there is still the possibility of snow and hard frosts have been known to hit as late as the back-end of May, as I learned to my cost back in 2010. Continue reading
I spent an enjoyable if lengthy amount of Saturday, potting on the large quantities of chillies and tomato seedlings that have spent the last few weeks developing their root systems and putting on growth, in the seed trays they were originally sown in. In total I had 72 tomato seedlings across 5 varieties, 11 sweet peppers and 56 chillies across 4 varieties. Of course 72 tomato plants is a little excessive for a family of four, even with two tomato loving Mudlets’ who are happy to snack away on the red fruits as if they were sweets and no amount of chutney making could utilise the huge quantities of fruit that we could find ourselves harvesting come the summer. Continue reading