Sunday, 30 January 2011
If only it was but it will be surprisingly soon and with that in mind, us at The Physic Garden have been madly busy all weekend preparing growing sites and potting on seedlings!
And the seedlings were, and hopefully still are, Chillies. Now its a strange thing having a fascination with chilli plants but I think they are fab,both in being beautiful plants and in what they produce. So last year we pottered off to the yearly Chilli Festival at West Dean Gardens, expecting to find lots of chilli plant producers and were slightly shocked that there weren't as many as we thought there would be. Although Michael Michaud was there from Seaspring Seeds and a couple of others it seemed as if there could have been more. And maybe there will be one day as we would love to grow enough to have a stand there, but I doubt that will happen this year...although never say never! It was, however, a good day out and West Dean is an excellent place to visit as it has an amazingly productive veg area and walled garden with the original glasshouses full of wonderfully grown crops. Check out www.westdean.co.uk for this years events.
But back to our Chillies. We sowed them in early January and they are all germinating, with Cherry Bomb and Joe's Long now ready for pricking out. I have found from past experience that the earlier they are sown and the longer the season is that you give them the higher the likelihood af getting a decent crop from each plant. Once they have germinated, keep them moist but not wet and keep potting them up as they grow in size. If they are checked in growth you will have problems with them, but by letting the roots keep on growing they will be substantial and well fruiting plants by August and September. Once they start to flower they need a high potash,tomato type, fertilizer, once a week and are happiest in a sunny position somewhere reasonably sheltered. They make great plants for containers but can also be grown in a vegetable plot or as summer/early autumn bedding.
The other exciting thing that happened this week is that Bruce, the lovely partner of Kristi, my lovely partner in crime and plants, took delivery of a greenhouse that he is putting up in his garden for us to use until our premises are up and running. This, dear Bruce, is a formal thank you.
The picture at the top is my allotment in the summer of last year-let the fennel be a warning to you all-2 plants in one year will lead to a whole allotment full if you don't weed out the seedlings-but it does look really pretty..... and kept the weeds at bay!