Tag Archives: Aubergines

Sowing Aubergines

Very brief update today. Have finally got around to sowing aubergines. I have sown Black Beauty which is the traditional, purple skinned variety, as well as Clara, which is a white skinned variety.

I’ve not had much success with sowing and growing aubergines. The one time that I did have a fruit, the plants were called Black Prince and were rescued from a garden centre. I am going to remain undaunted and try again. These seeds are being popped into the heated prop and all being well, we shall see the seedcases crack and seedlings appear.

The very busy poly tunnel

This evening, I have had a chance to pause and reflect whilst in the poly tunnel. I had noticed that the tomato plants had started to stretch out their leafy limbs and were in need of tying in to canes. I am quite surprised really as to how quickly they have taken off in the last few weeks. Especially as we had something of a drama before they were all plugged in. I do believe that all of the them are inderminate cordon, so this means pinching out arm pits from time to time. Where I have missed them, and there are trusses; I have left them. If the arm pit sprout is tiny, I am rubbing them out. Though I don’t mind if we get a fair few tomatoes, I am being kind to the tomato and to my mum who would rather tomatoes didn’t feel her kitchen worktops.

It is all very busy inside. We have tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and a single solitary cucumber. The latter having been donated by a kind allotment neighbour, and being grown undercover. There was  an aphid attack on one of the chillies, so I’ve had to squish and zap a few little green monsters.

There are flurries of yellow and white flowers. I don’t see any purple flowers on the aubergines yet, these are still a little small and need to do some additional growing. What you see in the picture above are the flowers on the cream sausage tomato, and the fruit of the cayenne chilli. I shall leave the chillies in situ to get red and ripen. On the other hand, we have had already had a number of unripe purple ones from the purple haze plant.

We have an assortment of chillies, from the cayenne, to hotter habaneros. I am glad to see that the orange and chocolate habaneros are forming the tiniest of flower buds. A reflection of the size in comparison to the cayenne, that is usually echoed in their punch.

Finally: Poly tunnel plugged in and potted up

Today is something of a red-letter day. The polytunnel on the plot now has everything tucked into it. The Growing season is officially ready to rock and roll. Unless the weather or the world has a huge great big episode. If you have a look at the tags, you will see just how much is plugged in or potted up.

With exception of two plants-the Dorset Naga and Purple haze chillies-everything in that polytunnel has been sown and grown from seed. That tomatoes, chillies and aubergines. All of which have had some form of drama attached to it. The tomatoes got dehydrated, the chillies had aphids, the aubergines were and are somewhat developmentally delayed.

The chillies are now starting to flower, even the tiniest of the pots that contain the chocolate and orange habaneros have flower buds on. The Cayenne’s have a clutch of white flowers, and the purple haze is a spot purple.

The last of the chillies was potted up today, pettie belle, as were the four aubergine babies. The aubergines are a little smaller than I would have expected, but I did sow them later than I could have and on a whim.

Our challenge now, is to keep everything happy. Watered, fed, happy and not too hot. There is one vent open to help cool and offer some form of ventilation. Valuable lessons are incorporated into all of this. The chillies are in pots, and will stay that way, as will the aubergines. Previously both of these have been in the ground, and not a lot has happened. Tomatoes are plugged in, they have worked well outside in the ground. The added bonus of being under cover might help them this year. Copper tape is around most of the pots, as well as little blue pellets of doom.

Tomatoes are now looking happy, and they are sending out little yellow flowers. So this with the white chilli flowers is a sign of some positive things. I am not too sure about the Aubergines, they might catch up, they might not.

With everything plugged in, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

#NABLOPOMO: Spindly Aubergines

It has taken a while, but I finally have some rather spindly aubergines coming through.I did sow quite a few, with there being four varieties.

These were:

  • black beauty
  • diamond
  • dancer
  • tres hative de barbentane

Think they have some way to go, but all being well, they will catch up. The seedlings are quite dainty, and could do with some warmth and heat to give them a good start.

#NABLOPOMO: My Aubergine is your Eggplant 2015

I wasn’t going to sow aubergines this year. After last years mixed results, I was feeling a little put off, However, I am going to use my previous growing experience, as a learning experience and take away the key findings and conclusions. This year, rather than putting them directly them into the ground, I will keep them in pots in the same way as the chillies. They will once more be in the poly tunnel.

The varieties:

  • Diamond
  • Dancer
  • Tres Hative De Barbentane
  • Black Beauty

Last year, there were some mixed results. All of the varieties were planted into the ground. Some of these grew into lovely luscious plants, with rather pretty purple flowers. There were also some rescued aubergine plants, from a garden centre, that did actually manage to produce some rather interesting fruit. The plants grew well, they were tall, and rather robust. I think the key however, was the restriction of the roots. So this is what I will be doing this year. I know it’s a little late, I should have perhaps sown them about a month ago. There are four varieties, and about four of each have been sown. I’m hoping that they will germinate, and then we shall see exactly how many we get. I don’t expect to be keeping all 16 would be plants. That would be a lot of aubergines, I might have to share the seedlings if they manage to grow.

NaBloPoMo_GROW_april

Pampering poly plants

They made it over night, under a fleece. Even had to evict two slugs that found themselves stuck in the builders sand placed around the base of the plants.

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What I have done is used some broken hoops to cover them a little differently. I’m a bit worried that the aubergines here will get a bit too warm and damp; inviting more slimers. Now it is rented for ventilation.

Same has been done with the sweet peppers and Nigel.

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Argh allotment challenge Epi 4

Argh allotment challenge Epi 4

Aubergine, sunfloo’ers and pickles this week, what could possibly go wrong?

I watch with cynicism and trepidation this week, as there are aubergines involved. In the grow challenge, that was the subject. Only two pairs actually grew from seed, something that I found disappointing. The others used grafted plants

And a chilli plant in quarantine, I’m mean really?

Tickling with ear buds as explained by the bearded blokes was good. Nice to see that happen.

But my one point is. To get the perfect aubergine fruit; you have to actually have to get the thing to germinate, root, flourish, flower and then fruit. I have a personal empathic view here; I have yet to get any fruits at all.

Misshapen veg?!

Oh dear juniper.

Show that mutated aubergine! I really don’t get this pursuit for perfection. Your tummy doesn’t yell a Len goodman-esque ‘seven’ when it is being eaten.

It was nice to see the contestants actually speaking to each other. This is what happens on allotments.

People talk.

You know, I don’t think I have ever been so cheesed off by aubergine shenanigans such as this. In awe, of a grown Aub. But sheen level takes the biscuit. The fact that some of the aubs were less than perfect was the actual highlight. Perfect specimen, bah humbug.

We like sunflowers. They are rather cool, little drops of sunshine. But the whole topiary tree turned me off completely. All very couture and fashion faffage here. Plus I don’t believe in cosseting my floo’ers.

The use of the phrase ‘free from blemishes’ irks me a great deal. Detracts from the fact that GYO and allotmenteering is not always going to be perfect. The pursuit for such is misleading and foolhardy. And such a desire to win. That doesn’t sit well with me either.

Then came the piccalilli and pickles. I’ve never understood why anyone would want to eat piccalilli. But this was a good opportunity to use a variety of allotment produce. Of course, being a Bollywood that always resonates. And apparently women don’t like piccalilli. Erm, eh?

Not sure about pickles, peoples.

Go, little greenhouse

Finally, the cover for the 4TB has arrived. A little bigger than expected, but that is a lot better than smaller. I had purchased one that did turn out to be smaller, and of no use. This may be bigger, but it is also made of the same reinforced material as the wendy house and the poly tunnel. I am hoping, therein, that it lasts a while. That said, the cover that was replaced is in fact five years old. Apparently, the shop that made the 4TB has changed the dimensions, so I couldn’t an appropriate replacement. That said, to their credit, the company was very good about making amends. In the poly tunnel yesterday, it was a rather balmy twenty degrees. The best thing, that it was still there, and hadn’t floated off. The wendy house was there also, for which we are also thankful. The lyon prizewinner leeks are still there and quite snug too.

Tomatoes aren’t doing too badly at the moment. The vast majority of the seeds that were modularised have come through. The module was sat on the not very warm window sill, and so they did take their time. The babies were also a little leggy, which resulted in them having to be demodularised and then potted up. No mean feat, as I am not very good at pricking out and potting up. Which is why, I only sank singular seeds to begin with. In essence, at the moment, we have the same number of tomato plants as we did last year. It remains to be seen, if these will all achieve maturity.

On the next window sill, we have the the aubergines. Dancer, diamond, tres hative de barbentane  and black beauty have all come through. I am still waiting for early long purple to germinate. There was a pleasant surprise in how quickly the aubergine seeds have come up.

Of the chillies and superhots, I have yet to see any of yellow scotch bonnet and orange habanero. Fire has been temporarily written off in failing to come off entirely. The dorset naga looked a bit precarious, having caught a cold; it looked as though it was going to keel over. I checked this afternoon, and it did appear to have rallied. I’m not hedging my bets. I would like it to survive, one has a dorset naga chilli challenge to try! Have resown some california wonder, as i had somewhat neglected to re-sow a sweet pepper. All those hot chillies, and no sweetness. One is thinking of all the possible chilli jam to be made.

I have kept all the babies in foodbag cloches. Mainly, as they are on window sills that don’t always stay warm. With some heat and light trapped, the cloche offers something of a security blanket. I am conscious that a sudden drop in temperature could wipe everything out. I would like to place the tomato babies in the 4TB, under a fleece. Just not sure if they would survive, would be a tragedy for them to be annihilated after being pampered for so long.

Aubergines experiment

seeds_pots varieties

 

It has been a year or two since I last dabbled with growing aubergines, This would be the third attempt. My growing adventures started with growing early long purple 2, and failed with kevin the moody aubergine falling to greenfly and eventually the elements. A second attempt failed also with plants producing pretty purple flowers, but not a lot else.

Now, one has the polytunnel on Project othello, and this lends itself to once more entering the breech. Today, I looked at the seed packets and realised that it was February. The date to sow as indicated on the packets, and I had been meaning to sow them. I took this as a sign, even if it is blowing a hanging gale outside. Now, seemed a good a time as any to sow them.

From only having one variety, the early long purple 2, there are four additional varieties that I have collected.

The runners and riders this year are:

  1. Early long purple 2
  2. tres hative de barbentane
  3. diamond
  4. dancer F1
  5. black beauty

Tres hative barbentane is allegedly a variety that doesn’t mind cooler temperatures, so this is a possible test. I think when I was researching aubergines, these were the varieties that fell into the most pragmatic to grown, given the British Climate. There are of course, many different varieties available. Three seeds of each have been sunk into labelled yoghurt pots and placed into the heated prop. The same method used as the chillies. They may take just as long as chillies to germinate. If the window sills were a little warmer and there was a but more light, I would have put them on the window sill.

The aim of this experiment remains the same. To get a single solitary fruit, from any of the different varieties. Firstly, the things have to germinate.

plotting for the poly

2013_summer

Evening all, the first day of the Christmas holidays has me in a reflective mood; trying to figure out what to do next on the plot. The weatherman has just forecast a very wet, windy and turbulent festive period. Leading me to think about making plans without venturing outside and getting soaked to the skin.

The whole plot does required tidying. Winds and rain has tossed around bits and pieces as though they were flotsam and jetsam. That can be easily remedied in just walking around and putting things back in their places. The nature of the wind, the buffeting on the windows always makes feel ill at unease. It would sad, if either the wendy house or poly took flight as though some farmhouse in kansas. The allotment site is windy, and things have been known to take flight before. So always unsettling to hear the wind whistle and then moan.

The inside of the poly does require tidying as well, Since it was raised, it has merely house pots of chillies. There wasn’t, sadly, a plan to start filling it over the winter. There was, a hope that it would actually survive the winter, and I could then focus in the growing season in terms of planting and growing. A notion, that set about when sorting out the seed stasher. Established that I have lots of cress and basil seeds, not likely to sow them. All freebies, actually. Perhaps suited to a loving home. As well as lots of black cherry tomato seeds. Enough to cultivate a small forest. Didn’t have a vast variety of them, as I had thought. This year, the tomato crop was prolific. Fruit didn’t go red on the vine, but it was bumper crop. Good use was made of them all. I didn’t label any, so that makes it difficult to consider what I should or shouldn’t think about sowing. Since I didn’t have a poly when these were being cultivated,all of the tomato plants were planted without cover and in raised beds. The question then being, what shall I plant in the poly. I am not likely to sow seed directly. There is a mistrust here, of slugs and such like. Critters knibbled on the potted chillies, which rather brassed me off to be entirely honest. I have no sympathy for the creature that gnarled through the jalapeños.  That, my friends, is called karma.

Mother has had word with me, about the number of plants I sow. Don’t sow so many, being the long and short of it. The only concession that I make, is that I tend to get carried away, and not all seeds might germinate.

With the polytunnel, I am hamstrung by the size. It is not massive. A nice neat size of 3m x 2m. Inside, there is a wooden plank down the middle-the one pops constructed, remember-leaving a horseshoe shaped space to sow things into. I would like to cultivate plants so that they are at least 8-10 inches high, whatever they might be, before sinking them into the ground of the poly tunnel. There might have to be the blue pellets of doom, by way of preventative measure.

Must get the inside of the polytunnel weeded though. Being warm and light inside, there is a fair bit of grass that needs to be removed. A process that might involve the inside actually being dug over once more, and each offending blade being painstakingly removed. That plays on my mind, in making sure that I have an adequate canvas to play with. It’s also a bit grubby on the inside, watery tidemarks that need to be wiped down.

Other than tomatoes, I have a list of things that I would like to dabble with. As observed in a previous post, I would like to grow some superhot chillies. So chillies and peppers will feature, hopefully. Again, despite what Mama H has said. A re-match with Aubergines too, having failed to get a single fruit last year. We had lots pretty lilac flowers, but not a lot else. Cucumbers are a potential, though I only have the outdoor variety at the moment. May have to look into that. And melon. Something that may require a structural investigation, as they require a bit of support.

 

And all in the confines of 3m x 2m.  Defying the laws of physics, and turning the poly into the tardis. The inside, being bigger than the outside.

 

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit