A bit too early maybe?

Last year I had my first ripe chillis after overwintering some that did not grow very quickly during the Summer.  Naturally I thought I would do the same again this year and planted a couple of Heatwaves a bit later trying to repeat my success.  (I also have some that I have planted early this season to see how they fare – they are three weeks old and growing well.)

As you can see from the photo, one of them is flowering already!  This is about two months earlier than last year – I am a little worried it may be peaking too soon (although I have a dwarf chilli Prairie Fire that has been flowering but not fruiting all Winter).

So, what has gone wrong this time?  Last year we put the chillis on the north facing, cooler (as we use the room for only minutes at a time), back bedroom windowsill.  This year they are on the south-facing, much warmer front room windowsill.

It will be interesting to see if these work out well again this year.

Sweet Chilli Success.

For the last few years I have been trying, and failing, to grow and ripen chillis.  The last two summers have been a complete wash out apart from a Prairie Fire plant that we kept as a pot plant that produced tiny weeny chillis.  Even the summer of 2006 with all its sunshiny glory and bees and butterflies didn’t produce anything but some green chillis that were eaten by slugs.

This was to be the final year…look what happened.

Red chilli - Heatwave
Red chilli - Heatwave

The secret of my success is a tip that I picked up from the Alternative Kitchen Garden Podcast.  Last year I had a couple of runty Heatwave chilli plants that I planted a little late and which did not grow.  I potted them on and kept them in the house (much to James’s chagrin as we also had to find a home for some gerberas that I had grown) over Winter.  Nothing much happened until the days lengthened in March when they put on a bit of a growth spurt.  Flowers started to come in May at which point we put them outside.  Chillis started to grow sometime in June, and there are loads of them.  This is the first one to ripen, but there are some more that are just showing the signs.  Once they start they seem to take only a week or so to become completely red.

Garden Update

So, the courgette is dead, the beans are under attack, has it all gone wrong? Fortunately, no it hasn’t. I did a quick stocktake today and a few days with some sun and no rain has allowed the plants to put a bit of a growth spurt on and stick two fingers up to Mr Slug.

Courgette PlantThe courgette that was planted in the tub is still there and starting to grow, although it is destined to be lonely because the seed I planted to replace the aforementioned marrowy martyr did not manage to shrug off its seed case and has since withered and died.

Hildora, dwarf french beanThe beans, both types, are starting to really take off (this being one of the lessons I should have learnt from reading Monty Don’s My Roots where he states that there is no point planting beans out until June, point taken, mental note made for next year).

Flower Buds on TomatoThe tomatoes are doing well and the first flower buds have appeared on the Gardener’s Delight.

The potatoes are also growing well with the Charlottes and Shetland Blacks in the tubs earthed up as far as they can be. I will be interested to see which of these give the best combination of flavour and yield (along with Mimi) as we do not really want to grow quite so many next year.

The chillis and sweet peppers have in the main survived their potting on and are lined up, awaiting transfer to the front garden where they will get more sun. As ever, I have grown too many of these, so may have to give some away.

Today I also potted on the Cavolo Nero that I am growing for Winter harvesting. This is the first time I have grown any kind of kale and so am really growing by trial and error. I am not sure if they should be potted on, but they look a bit little and defenceless at the moment and so I am unwilling to pop them in the ground just yet.

Flower bud on the blackberryMain failures so far this year – radish, should have thinned them, salad leaves, Mr Slug strikes again.

Plant that came back from the dead – thornless blackberry, bought too early, left in a pot for too long, looked like it wasn’t going to survive, now coming into flower.

A day in the garden.

A dry day in the garden gave us time to catch up with a few bits and pieces and take note of what was growing well (notably not the courgette which is now completely lacking leaves). The tomatoes (Gardener’s Delight and Beefeater) have now been planted into larger tubs, as has my remaining courgette. Sweet Peppers (Mini Bell and Sweet Nardello) as well as Chilli Peppers (Heatwave and Hungarian Hot Wax) were also put into larger pots, but, following a trip to Ryton Organic Gardens last year, in smaller pots than in past years in the hope that they may be more successful. These last may be transplanted to the front of the house once we have finished the front garden to try to ripen the fruit.

Also seemingly growing well were the families of both goldfinches and greenfinches which arrived in the garden this morning, presumably recently fledged (one young goldfinch and four young greenfinches). They were much quieter than the baby sparrows, and, generally quite well behaved.