It’s finally hotting up! – Sowing the Chilli Peppers

The sowing season is now very much upon us, and this weekend we sowed our Machu Picchu Chilli Pepper seeds.
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It was a very simple process, and didn’t involve anything out of the ordinary! 

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First of all we filled the seed tray with seed and modular compost (which is much finer than regular compost, therefore ideal for sowing).

Our next step was to use a block of wood to flatten out/compress the compost…

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Then, we carefully placed the seeds on top of the compost, an equal distance apart – and pressed them down a little.
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Once they’d been pressed down, the seed tray was covered with vermiculite, as shown below…

It’ll now go onto the propagator until the seeds are showing – which will be roughly 2 weeks (hopefully!).

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In other news, we had a little check on our early new potatoes, and whilst we had to move out a little soil before we could find them – they’re certainly not far away from showing!

Planning for 2019

It’s really hard at this time of year not to wish away your life in return for the early arrival of summer and the possibility of harvesting the vegetables you have grown. But whilst we have to wait patiently for the weather to warm up (extremely patiently based on the snow that has been forecast over the past week!), it’s a great time to stay indoors and plan for the year ahead.

It’s always good to try some new things, but also to stick to some of the crops you’ve grown and loved before and can look forward to growing once again. Too much change and you set yourself an almost impossible task with failure almost destined as you try to grapple with growing some many unfamiliar vegetables all in one go!

Needless to say, despite my comments above – looking through the various seed catalogues and on their websites, our list of “want-to-grows” almost doubled, with all the eye-catching photos of the crops you can grow!

So here’s our plan for the year ahead. Fingers crossed we get round to it all!

  1. Potatoes. We’ve decided on three sowings – early new potatoes (hopefully ready for harvest in May, a second sowing ready in July and a third that will hopefully give us new potatoes for Christmas! Refer to our previous blog post for the early new potatoes, as these were planted last week. We’ve gone for Red Duke of York and Charlotte.
  2. Chard. We’ve never grown this, but like its colours – so we’re going for a pink and orange selection to get that rainbow effect. We bought some from the supermarket to try it before we committed to growing it from scratch, as we wanted to make sure we liked it! It went down well – so here we are!
  3. Sweetcorn. I’ve grown this at home before as a kid, but Chris fancied his chances with it this year. Initially we were going to grow the multicoloured cobs (you can see a theme emerging here!)… until we found out that apparently it looks a lot better than it tastes. So, standard yellow it is!
  4. Kohl rabi. We think that the end product looks like spaceships – what more reason do you need to give it a try?! There are green and purple varieties – surprise surprise, we’ve gone for purple.
  5. Romanesco cauliflowers. So we grew cauliflowers last year, which we may well do again. However, fancied a slight change and wondered whether Romanesco cauliflowers taste the same. We’ve gone for one of the green (rather than purple this time!) varieties as they are so bright! I’m kind of imagining it’s going to taste like broccoli, but we’ll have to wait and see.
  6. Dwarf beans. We found a variety that advertised “easy picking” bush plants. They sound ideal. They don’t use up much space and they’re easy to pick – so we’ve gone for those.
  7. Peppers. We’re trying two varieties (so far!), and neither are similar to the bell-style ‘Gogorez’ peppers we grew in 2018. The first, is going to be Padron – a medium-sized long pepper that makes for a great Tapas dish and is harvested before it goes red (not to say we might not leave a few of them red to see how they differ!). The second, is a chilli pepper by the name of ‘Machu Pichu’ which is by no means the hottest chilli pepper, but should give a little extra spice to a few of our favourite dinners.
  8. Garlic. We like to use garlic in cooking, so thought we’d see how easy it was to grow our own. The bulbs are purchased, and are waiting for us to plant out once the weather perks up a bit.

And some firm favourites from last year:

  1. Radishes
  2. Carrots
  3. Lettuce
  4. Spring onions
  5. Cucumber
  6. Courgettes
  7. Strawberries

I’m sure we’ve forgotten something – we’ve just got to hope we remember before sowing time! We also haven’t firmed up sowing dates etc. yet, but watch this space…!

Some more potting on of peppers…

Today we potted on Emily’s Gogorez peppers – they definitely needed some more room!

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They’re also currently doing a little better than mine at the moment!

We filled the pots up about half way with soil, and then topped with compost:

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Next, we made some room in the centre of each pot large enough to fit the peppers:

 

After that, it’s a simple case of pushing the compost around the stem of the pepper and making sure it’s nicely secure in it’s new location…

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We needed some bamboo canes to support the plants as they continue to grow upwards over the next couple of months, and of course as they start to grow the peppers themselves.

 

 

As above – we tied the stems of the peppers to the canes with some string, just to keep them upright, and to help take away some of the strain.

And voilà –

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Go Go Gogorez – Potting on the Peppers

 

**From 20th April 2018**

…Better late than never with this post!

Despite the overly enthusiastic title of this post, peppers really aren’t the quickest growers. These were sown back in February, and some two months later they are ready to be potted on.

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Step 1. As you can see above, the 6 peppers were big enough to move on to larger pots (or, at least 5 and 1/2 of them had come on well to date!). I raided the garden for whatever pots I could find.

Step 2. The new pots were filled with compost, roughly 3/4 of the way to the top. I only used a multipurpose compost and 3 weeks on nothing has died – so no problems there!

Step 3. Make a hole in the middle of the pot big enough to fit the incoming pepper.

Step 4. (as above) Turn the pepper upside down, and, gently supporting the stem in between two fingers, pinch the pot with enough force that allows the plant to fall through – you may need to alternate between the sides.

Step 5. Slot the pepper into the hole you’ve just made in the new, bigger pot – as below…

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Step 6. Fill the pot up with some more compost, enough to ensure that the stem of the pepper is not too exposed, as this won’t be helpful to its growth once it starts to be left outdoors as it could be blown over in the wind. Instead, we want a strong, sturdy plant to give it the best chance. Don’t worry if this means some of the lower leaves are submerged.

Step 7. After repeating the above steps for all of your pots, they’ll need a good watering. The pots should be moist but not completely saturated:

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The process for potting on is very similar for a lot of plants and vegetables, but I don’t think it hurts to demonstrate that fact!

The peppers can be left outdoors during the day for the next few weeks (as long as the weather is set fair), but to begin with they are best brought indoors overnight. They’ll need to be watered regularly to keep the compost moist.

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