Chilli Duo: Aji limo and Hungarian Hot Wax

The Woolly Green Blog mentioned ten vegetables to sow this month. I happen to have sown the chilli pepper that was mentioned.

The Aji limo was from sea spring seeds, whilst the Hungarian Hot Wax is from seed parade.

Can’t remember the exact date these were sown, but it was early January. Of the seeds sown, these are probably the tallest, alongside the cayenne chilli pepper seedlings. I’ve not sown these successfully before, and I’m curious as to how these are going to develop. The Aji limo is a Habanero, with the Hungarian hot wax being allegedly suited to the cooler Blighty climate. The latter is also meant to be quite mild in comparison to the Aji Limo.  Both look very pretty as plants, looking at the information that is available about them.

They will all require potting up, in fact some of the cayennes are leaning a bit. However,  I am conscious of the fact that if the pot is too roomy,the plants do relax a little. They sit back and do nothing. The cayennes are starting to escape their pots, so these won’t be too far behind. It might be some time yet before they are potted into their final pots. I have deliberately not separated the seedlings out. This I feel contributes to the the growth, as the plants cramp together and work harder.  It is still very early in the growing season, so these are on the small side at the moment. Hopefully, these will continue to grow, despite the cold snap that is forecast.

leggy but still lovely tomatoes

Just like the chillies, the tomato babies are growing slowly but surely. The first batch are somewhat leggy, and would most likely benefit from being potted up. This is a plan in the coming week at least. Shall be keeping an eye on them,and rotating as some have started to bend with the solar phillic tendency. Some of varieties have started to send out proper leaves, whereas others are somewhat delayed, I would rather that they did take their time at this stage, I don’t want them grow too quickly and then keel over should we have a cold snap. They are largely kept warm, but not too warm so as to be in heat all the time.

We have:

  • marmade
  • yellow stuffer
  • true blackbrandywine
  • cream sausage
  • money maker
  • cherokee purple.

Haven’t got around to sowing any additional varieties, and I’m not sure that I want to sow any more. There is finite space in the poly tunnel, which will have tomatoes sharing with chillies.

Psychology Sunflower challenge 2015

horticulturalhobbit:

Posting again :)

Originally posted on horticultural 'obbit:

sunflower

So here we have it, the Psychology Sunflower challenge. As the winter starts to ebb away,the days get longer, the sunshine starts to appear. We step out of the dreariness of the dark, dank, winter moths and say hello to brightness.

I am challenging my fellow teachers, regardless of subject area, to grow sunflowers. Something of a natural experiment, if you like. The details above, are taken from the latest article of The ATP Magazine. Later this year, I am hoping to carry out a workshop at The ATP conference that looks at gardening and well being.

The instructions for the challenge are are simple. Place a sunflower seed into a pot of moist compost. You can even make your own paper pots if you wish! rather informative video here of how you can make those. Keep them moist and warm, but not damp enough to rot away. These…

View original 92 more words

Preserving Prep: stashing jars

jars

Since last year’s preserving and pickling experiments, I have been on the scrounge for empty jam and sauce jars. I have been collecting them from the house kitchen, friends and colleagues. Not knowing, how many I had actually stuffed into Dad’s shed. Ma has been telling me that there were quite a few that were stashed, and I should probably want to check how many. I have been very fortunate, that a dear friend of my is currently weaning one of her lovely kids. So this has meant that I have been able to freecycle her baby food jars. Some of them have lids, some don’t. Not too worried about that, as I have been using cling film to seal in contents. Tidied up Dad’s shed and stashed nearly hundred of the baby food jars. There are about thirty other miscellaneous jars also stored there. Turns out I have quite a few, and I still want to collect more. To get me started last year, I did buy some ‘proper’ jars and these were used quite well. Even had labels on, with the figure holding carrots-you know the one, the avatar on the blog. That is my brand! Have had a look into trade marking it, so the is a firm idea of what the blog and allotment experiments are all about. (And yes, that is apparently what I look like too). A perfectly unique image, created by the same artist in residence who last year planted potatoes and tulips, remember him?

It’s not quite you know, the Del Boy traders thing yet. I know that using baby food jars is okay for small scale preserving that might be for home, family and colleagues. Less so, If this was all a small business enterprise and I was selling commercially. I know that there are rules and regulations about packaging too. All will be looked into, should this ever get off the ground as it were.

That is the dream though, to marry up Psychology, counselling, allotmenteering with preserving and pickling. One day!

Another chilli post 15/02/15

In that lull, where you want to sow stuff, and probably shouldn’t, let’s have another look at the chillies. So far so good, close attention is being paid to the chillies. The danger being, that they get cold, dry up and keel over. Whilst chillies benefit from a spot of meanness, being overly mean results in a lack of baby chillies.

Some of the chillies are growing rapidly. Most have got their first pair of true leaves, and are now getting onto their second true leaves. Some of the smaller ones, the slower growing ones, such as pettie belle, raindrop and pumpkin are only just getting their first proper leaves.

I have discovered that if you water with cold water, they all tend to go a bit ‘ouch’. Just like we do, when we step our toes into the cold sea. So water with warm stuff, and they go a but ‘ooh’ and it’s not all a bit of a shock. I have done this about once a week so far. The compost is kept moist, and they really shouldn’t dry out. To trap heat, both trays are still covered. I am taking no chances. The slightest cold breeze and the things start sulking.

Aji limo and hungarian hot wax are doing well, growing strongly. The others are still on the smaller side. Not dainty, necessarily, just comparatively smaller. The fruits are smaller, so that is not really a big surprise. I am going to try and keep them all in the current pots for a while. At least until the roots start to creep out the bottom in a threadlike fashion. If the move up pot is too big, i have observed that the plants relax and get too cosy. I haven’t fed the plants yet. This will be held off for a bit. This year, I want to make a reflective more informed decision. Traditionally, if you use tomato food this will give you lovely leafy plants. Like the triffids that we had in the poly tunnel last year. What I want to consider is, will planting in pots make a significant difference as well as the food. So we have two hypotheses to test. The constraint of pots and the feed. I was recommended this product last year, a specific chilli plant food. I am not going to be mean, and have one batch as an experimental group and another a control group. The experimental group would be the ones fed, pampered, hugged and loved. The control group would be getting just tomato food. I would like all the plants to do well.I think the premise is that first of all you get the plant leafy, and then once that has established, you tackle the fruit development. I don’t think I have ever got so technical over a chilli plant. Will reflect on that though, and do some more research.

The plot, the poly and potatoes

plot

I was going to play on the plot today. If only for a brief spell. What I really wanted to do, was sink potatoes. Yes, already.

I have had fairly dire success when it comes to potatoes. What for others might be a fairly straight forward thing to do, for me, is a challenge. There has been some limited success growing potatoes in raised beds, and that is what I will in a couple of months time. I don’t really want to dig trenches again into the clay. I did that last year, and the seed potatoes were basically eaten by the clay. What could have been a beautiful bountiful crop, was in fact diddly squat of not a lot really. Very few spuds actually came out, and I had planted quite a few. Was rather demoralising really. I don’t particularly want to feel that way again. Last year was the first time for a number of the varieties that I am trying this year.

This year, the spud list is as follows:

  • Red duke of York-first earlies
  • Kestral-second earlies
  • Lady balfour-Main crop
  • Pink fir apple-salad variety
  • International kidney-salad variety

What I have done today, could possibly end with disappointment, as I have set about doing an experiment. I toddled off to the plot, with a bulb planter, a transplanting trowel and a bag of red duke of york seed potatoes. I went into the poly tunnel. The soil in there has already been tidied up and even had poop put into it. It is still horrible clay though, like the rest of the plot. Then over the next hour, I sunk the seed potatoes. I started off with the bulb planter, but didn’t like it, and so the transplanter trowel dug slots for the spuds. Each seed was then popped in. and covered over with the dirt that had been dug over. This is the first time that I have sunk seed spuds undercover, and therein it’s an experiment. It is also rather early. Most people have probably only received their potato orders and are likely to be now chitting their spuds in preparation. There is fleece on hand, to cover the shoots as they come through. I realise that there is a huge gamble when we are still experiencing frosts and will do so, til the end of may. By that time, the spuds should be up and out. Leading to tomatoes and chillies being planted into the poly. I didn’t fancy having an empty poly tunnel for such a long time.

Previously, I have sown kestral and lady, not too bad. Both were okay variety, particularly in light of my spud growing naivete. International kidney got eaten by the clay last year and didn’t work. Pink Fir apple is new this year, as it is such a knobbly looking thing. What I need to reflect upon closely, is where all the potatoes are going to go, and how. I really don’t want to sink into the clay, as that is a short way to write everything off.

Beyond the potatoes, I took this opportunity to walk around and tidy up the raised beds. Three of them, require topping up with MPC. They currently contain leaf mold. These, I suspect will be used to grow potatoes. There are other beds, that would also benefit from topping up, have sunk quite a bit. I can start to work out now, what is going to go where. Mum is going to need a raised bed or two for spinach and fenugreek. Space where running beans and climbing beans might go, is currently covered in black plastic. I don’t want the clay to get even more wetter and stickier. The vast majority of the raspberry canes that were sunk before Christmas do appear to have rooted and remain plugged in. No sign of growth yet on them, though. With the fruit trees, the braeburn apple, falstaff and worcester pearmain have started to form buds. The rochester peach less so. The peach is on persica rootstock. I have done some research about the concorde pear, and it appears that another one near by would improve things. At the moment, I’m not sure there is one near by, and so might reflect on finding another to sink on the plot. The pear treee that I have, has never ever fruited. Even the victoria plum has fruited once upon a time. There are huge great big plum trees dotted on the site, I like to think that may have an effect.

Seedlings and soft fruit: cynical single day

image

image

Today is the feast of saint valentines and as ever, I don’t have any plans. Have finally received the yellow autumn raspberries that I was expecting. These are a variety called fall good and will go with the yellow autumn bliss canes planted last summer. I am hoping that these actually taste of something. Have been rather looking forwards to them. These canes have been plugged in alongside the autumn bliss and hinnonmaki green goosberries.

Have also made paper pots today and potted up some wiry tomato babies. I now have two dozen babies so I doubt very I shall be sowing any more. Unless of course they all keel over.

Big allotment challenge the final

Episode six and it’s final time. I watched this last episode with some trepidation. Despite having spent 5 weeks swooning over @robsallotment, it was hard to think who might win. I won’t say who, you may want to watch it.

sadly I don’t recall last years final in detail. But I do think that this year the final was tougher. The grow challenge was all about cauliflowers and cape gooseberries. Cauliflowers, I have experienced growing and therefore can have some empathy with the contestants. I don’t find them easy to grow. There was some good growing advice and mentions of the pests that can cause a huge hindrance. Loved the beautiful purple cauliflower. You wouldn’t get that in the supermarket or would you?! Wasn’t sold on the cape gooseberries. Don’t think I would grow them myself.

Flowers passed me by, per usual.

The eat was as ever an opportunity for Thane. Seriously, give this lady her own show. I don’t think she has been as mean she could have been. Even then, thane gives constructive feedback. Yes, she’ll say if something is bad. But she has never stuck the palate knife in. There were cocktails. Which makes perfect sense if you hs shave ever made homebrew from plot fruit. Would have been nice to see more of that though. I don’t know how thane stayed sober. Confectionary was an interesting idea as was the canapés.

Psychology Sunflower challenge 2015

sunflower

So here we have it, the Psychology Sunflower challenge. As the winter starts to ebb away,the days get longer, the sunshine starts to appear. We step out of the dreariness of the dark, dank, winter moths and say hello to brightness.

I am challenging my fellow teachers, regardless of subject area, to grow sunflowers. Something of a natural experiment, if you like. The details above, are taken from the latest article of The ATP Magazine. Later this year, I am hoping to carry out a workshop at The ATP conference that looks at gardening and well being.

The instructions for the challenge are are simple. Place a sunflower seed into a pot of moist compost. You can even make your own paper pots if you wish! rather informative video here of how you can make those. Keep them moist and warm, but not damp enough to rot away. These should germinate quite quickly, and get quite tall. Once the threat of frost in your area has passed, you can transplant them outside.

Once outside, provided that they are well feed-they do get hungry-your sunflower will do it’s best to reach for the sky. You might even want to give it a name, and see just how tall it will grow. They are happy in both pots and in the open ground.

Here’s hoping that lots of folks get involved, and it would be lovely to see how the sunflowers are going.

chillies chugging along feb 2015

The tiny tiddler chillies are making slow but steady progress. All of the varieties sown have now germinated, and are showing their baby leaves. A few of them, are now progressing onto their first true leaves.They might look a little leggy,but they are pampered, and in light and heat all the time. I don’t have grow lights, so all the heat and light is from the sunny bay window. Still covered partially with a prop lid to trap in warmth. Hopefully, as the days get longer and there is more light, the seedlings will become a little more robust. That said, many of the varieties sown are suitable for pot growing rather than the ground.

My one concern about these is now keeping the soil moist, but not killing them. All the seedlings are very delicate looking. I won’t pot them up yet either. Will be as mean as I practically can be with them. With the exception of the cayenne, chocolate and orange habaneros, all the varieties are new this year. Orange and chocolate were sown and grown last year, but all they produced was lots of leaves.

The full list of varieties:

  • Cayenne
  • Serrano
  • hungarian hot wax
  • pettie belle
  • apricot
  • raindrop
  • pumpkin
  • aji limo
  • bellaforma
  • chocolate habanero
  • orange habanero
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