We had a horrible frost the night before last, and I was worried that the babies in the 4 tier blowaway may have experienced jack frost’s kiss of death. They were however, nestled beneath two layers of fleece and had warm water bottles to keep them company. The picture above, doesn’t particularly do them justice. I was waiting for the wind to stop batting them around as a gust had come past. Most of them, are reasonably tall, but not gangly. I suspect they may actually need potting up, so that they can stretch that bit more. I might however, wait them out for the rest of the month, and then move them into the poly tunnel. That is if the Red Duke of York potatoes that currently occupy it have decided to come up and out. There are also some chillies already in there, that for now, have also survived the frost.
After what has been an intense week, things are getting back to normal. I have found myself some compost, and got around to potting things up. The tomatoes were looking as though they were ready to bend and break, so needed to be potted up as matter of urgency. So putting down some newspaper-i did it before my mum instructed me to, and I even hoovered up after-I set about potting up.
I’m not very good at potting up, as you may have garnered. I even managed to decapitate one of the true black brandywine seedlings. To be fair it had already started to keel over a the soil point in having grown leggy. There was no hope for it anyway. Therefore, potting up is something of a delicate operation. I had to concentrate, so pops got a bit worried when I was walking around wearing a scowl and looking rather unhappy. That would be my concentration face.
The tomatoes were planted deep into new pots, right up to or close to their baby leaves. There are still another dozen or so baby tomatoes that are still at their baby leaf stage. But these were starting to send out their second or third set of proper leaves. They still have some time yet before they are move. I daresay that they will probably be potted up once more before they get planted into the poly.
Then, then we have the chillies. You have heard a fair bit of them lately. But they too needed potting up to varying levels. They are all incredibly leafy, and healthy looking. I did have a mild panic when earlier this week, a couple of the specimens were a bit wrinkly and dehydrated. So had to have a lot of water poured into their gravel tray. I rather like my chilli babies, and will be heartbroken if they keel over. Most of them now look a little more respectable having graduated from their yogurt pots and into the 7 cm pots. The habaneros were also potted up, they are sending out leaf pairs three and four, even though they are smaller in size compared to the rest of their cohort. I think that is trend for habaneros, as the other varieties are growing at a much speedier rate. I also had not realised quite how many Hungarian Hot wax chillies I had sown. There a number of Aji Limo, together with few cayenne babies.
The first of the tomatoes have germinated and come through. I think I have six surviving germinators, with one keeling over with the cold. These have been transplanted into yogurt pots from their modular compartments. I have to say, that the trick by Allotment Lena works. Where you use a spoon to transplant from one place to another. There appears to be less root disturbance. There are not many that have come through, yet money maker tomato seems at this stage to be the quickest out of the blocks. There were 24 sections in the modules, and so far seven have come through. I think I may have made the compost a little too damp. Going to see how many more come through, and then I will look at sowing some more. Was thinking about where to put these when they grow larger, and the poly tunnel seems to be the best place. I have always grown tomatoes outside, and never had them ripen. Putting them into the polytunnel is probably going to be more useful.
The chillies are starting to get a wriggle on, and these have also been transferred from modules to other pots. I did have a panic as some of them looked a little shrivelled. I had thought thought that I had lost most them. Much hand wringing ensued. However, covering them with a propogater lid, these were a little revived with the heat and light being trapped to warm them up again. The cayenne chillies were the quickest to come through, and with the Aji Limo chillies are the more robust looking. Pumpkin and raindrop chillies are by far the daintiest of the lot. Debating, as to whether I sow some more. Unlike last year, I don’t plan to plant them directly into the ground in the poly. The plan is to plant into pots, based upon previous experience.
There are eight varieties in all, I am still waiting for orange and chocolate habaneros to germinate. In previous experience, these do take a while. I don’t particularly want to pop them into a heated prop, as they end up leggy and wiry.
I got a little bored of chopping tomatoes, so only half of that trough actually made it into chutney. Lots of green tomatoes, with a onion, garlic and ginger base.
Were added to cider vinegar, purée tomatoes, mustard, cumin, chillies, cayenne, paprika, turmeric, peppercorns , fennel and white mustard seeds. Cooked slowly until a large amount of the liquid has disappeared.
I did put a fair bit of tomato purée so that it didn’t look like a green mess. So far it tastes as though it has a kick.