Posts Tagged ‘chilli’

The celebrations continue…as does the rain

Well, what a hectic couple of weeks we’ve had. So much jubilation and partying. Not only was the Queen celebrating 60 years on the throne but one of us was also celebrating his 60th birthday…and what a birthday – surprise parties, surprise cakes (all in the allotment theme, of course), surprise trips to Budapest, loads of presents and cards. The list goes on and the surprises aren’t all over yet. He may not have had a soggy wet pageant down the river Thames laid on for him but everyone had certainly ‘pushed the boat out’ to make his birthday a time to remember.

Anyway, that’s enough of the spotlight on him…what about our plot and the garden? Well, despite the wind and rain, the jubilee baskets are holding up well and luckily were in full flower for the weekend. Here’s a few pics…

   

As far as the plot goes, the last couple of weekends have been hectic. We’ve tried to get everything finally planted out and this rain has made weeding a nightmare. We’ve spent many hours bent over solemnly picking out weeds, and that blasted bindweed, until we’ve felt like we’ll never be able to stand up straight again! Our hard work has paid off though as the plot is now looking excellent. I think we can declare it full – there’s not an inch of space left to plant anything else.

The cut flower beds have been all planted up and are doing well. There are three varieties of Cosmos, some Sweet Rocket, Zinnias, Calendula, Love Lies Bleeding, Stocks, Scabious, Echinacea and a number of other things.

That’s all before the 30-odd chrysanths and the 20-odd dahlias…

Why did we need so many dahlias? Who knows, but now they’ve taken up all of the remaining space so I’ve now declared the cutting section full. The good thing about the dahlias is that they have won us a number of prizes in local shows in the last few years, so hopefully this year we may be in with a chance of a bit of silverware! Fingers crossed.

The greenhouse has also been transformed – all the chillies and peppers have been planted, along with a couple of melons and a cucumber. We’ve even got a few chillies already.

The only disappointment this weekend was the weather which did put a bit of a damper on the village Open Gardens day on Tuesday where 14 different gardens plus the allotments were open. There were some absolutely lovely gardens. We’ve lived in the village for four years and had never realised there were such wonderful houses and gardens hidden away behind gravel drives and up little lanes. It’s just a shame the sun didn’t come out to attract a few more visitors. That said, a jolly time was had by all and it was all for a worthwhile cause – Marie Curie.

Let’s just hope the rain stops soon so that we can finish netting the strawberries before the birds start tucking into them!

 

 

Beans, berries and bloomin’ snow

Not to be deterred by a little bit of snow (well, quite a lot of snow actually), we pulled on those wellies, filled the flask with coffee and wobbled our way up the hill with the wheelbarrow to the plot. The snow was not going to deter us – especially after having spent £45 in Wilko (oh, how we love Wilko) the day before – we had stuff to do!

Snowy views from the strawberry bed

The snowy allotments

White earth

Some of us were a little optimistic (as always) in thinking they would be able to dig up parsnips for the Sunday roast dinner. Not sure what part of frozen earth and four inches of white stuff on top he was not comprehending, but that’s men for you! (Let’s face it, it was only last Sunday when, after 4 hours of trying to drill drainage holes in a barrel and getting nowhere, he realised that the drill was in reverse!! Sometimes he can be quite…challenging.) So, once realisation had filtered through to those little grey cells he finally saw the sense of shutting the door of the greenhouse from the inside, pouring a hot coffee and setting to with planting the broad beans. All quite simple you would think until reality hit again and we remembered that the bags of compost we needed to plant the beans were outside – and yes, they were frozen solid! With many cups of coffee and a lot of positive thinking (even from me), we managed to thaw enough of the compost to plant them – 96 Aquadulce are now shivering in seed trays. Which seems to be what the onions are still doing as, 4 weeks later, there’s still no sign of anything happening. They need heat.

Not letting the snow stop planting

There is, however, good news. I have now transplanted 18 chillies which are looking strong and healthy, and I’ve also planted some sweet red peppers. These are all happily sitting on a nice warm windowsill. The other good news is that, thanks to My Tiny Plot, I now have four white strawberry plants (courtesy of Wilko, £2.28 for 2 – we love Wilko – have I mentioned that already?). When I first saw these in Wilko I wasn’t that impressed – they just looked like anaemic strawberries to me. It wasn’t until I read My Tiny Plot‘s post that I realised that they had a pineapple taste. Suddenly they became more attractive and an absolute must-have. So, now they are nicely potted up waiting for the weather to improve before going into the strawberry beds.

White strawberries

All we need now is a big thaw so that the compost might actually be ready for the next planting session and those blasted onions might actually start to sprout!

Chilli Monday – from shoots to toes

It was a bit of a chilly start this morning and according to the weatherman it’s set for the rest of the week. Not good news for our onions seeds which are still showing no signs whatsoever of sprouting – they need to get a move on. However, the chillis are romping away, so much so that they are in grave danger of going leggy very early on.

Chillis are up!

We’ve planted two types this year: Cayenne and Numex Twilight.  The Numex are a new variety on us – I was attracted to their colour. We did the Cayenne last year along with Ring of Fire and Apache – all were good and ended up producing a bumper harvest. Not good news for the recipients of our Christmas presents who all ended up with a variety of things made from chillis whether they liked chilli or not – chilli oil, chilli flakes, chilli jam, chilli jelly, chilli chocolate bark, chilli and lime chocolates, chilli vodka…the list went on. The rest were tied into ristras and left to dry so that they can be used throughout the year.

Chilli Ristras from the 2011 harvest

The chilli jam was a huge success and is the perfect thing with baked camembert and a chunk of bread – just what you need to warm you up on these chilly days. Have a look on the recipe pages (on the right) for the Chilli Jam and Chilli Jelly – well worth a go.

Chilli Jam & Chilli Jelly

Another thing that’s also worth a go, and is also along the chilli theme, are these:

Chilli feet

These are excellent if you’re the sort of people, like us, who are forever wandering off down the garden in your slippers and then paddling mud back through the kitchen (or worse still, leaving big clods of mud right through the house – yes, you have been caught in those wellies!). They’re called Backdoorshoes – simples. You stick them by the back door and slip them on every time you go outside. They’re brilliant, and come in all patterns – garlic, nuts and bolts, roses…to name but a few. I think they’ll made excellent allotment shoes come the summer.

Not convinced…have a look at this other pair.

Sprouting vegetable feet