Saturday, 23 February 2013

Jalastar and Lombardo (capsicum annums) neck and neck

Of this year's chillies, the Jalastar and Lombardo capsicum annums are currently leading the race to fruition:

Now aged 3 weeks and 5 days (sown 28 January), these are my two strongest plants (Lombardo front left, Jalastar back left) at the moment:

All sown on the same date, not only is there a fair difference in development between the varieties, as you can see from the lanky Aji Colorado twig at the back right of the picture, but even within the same variety, as you can see from the two Lombardo plants at the front.

I think this is normal even when seeds and plants are grown in exactly the same conditions, but in my case it's probably more likely due to slight differences in light, heat, water and potting compost. Everything basically... Hmmmm need to be more consistent...


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Progress at last!

I'm finally seeing some progress among the chillies:

This is how you want your seeds to behave. All the Lombardo seeds germinated
really quickly and are growing fast. Time for a place of their own.

First sowing results: 0/3 2012 Trinidad Scorpion; 2/4 2013 Hot Lemon;
3/4 2013 Early Jalapeno; 4/4 2012 Jalastar

Hooray!! 6/6 2013 Aji Colorado - Our favourites! :D

After the failed first batch (albeit old seeds) of Trinidad Scorpion, when the new lot arrived in the post, I opted to germinate them (all varieties) in moist kitchen paper. It worked. However, some of them, like this one, germinated so fast they attached themselves to the paper, so I had to clip them out and plant them with a bit of paper. 

My lettuces are doing really well too, I'm going to try and liberate a few and grow them on indoors for cut and come again early salad leaves. Anyone tried that?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Great workout!

This time of year is not all about seeds and grow lights. For us, it is also lumberjack season. So far we've felled a huge oak, a mid-sized oak, a large aspen and a few small birches.

And it's one thing chopping them down, but then you have to process them...

Oak up

Oak down

I pulled all the branches away from the trunk as the hubby sawed them off
so he didn't stumble over them and to make it easier to get to the next bit.

All this has to be dragged away and piled up onto the bonfire.
Oak is HEAVY and awkward to carry!!

Slowly getting there.

The large aspen in the woods on the other side of the lawn.

Even with a log splitter, work is slow and heavy going.
And really tough on your back.

This lot is 100% oak. We have started storing the various wood varieties
separately due to different storage times. Oak takes 3-5 years!!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Seed chaos

I have spent the past 4-5 months hardly giving my vegetable garden/ cultivation/ greenhouse/ seeds, etc. a single thought. Why then was I - all of a sudden - unable to sleep last night. Seriously. I lay awake almost all night worrying about the state of my seed collection and how to fix it.

I even got up again and trawled the Internet for ideas on how to index & sort your seeds.


Luckily, I have a bad habit of collecting old plastic ice-cream containers and take-away packets, much to the annoyance of my husband, who often asks me what I intend to do with the 158 or so plastic containers (and lids) littering every cupboard and draw... Well, at last, I have an answer! :)

They are perfect seed containers!

I lined them with kitchen roll and, where needed, a piece of thin cardboard as a separator. And voila! Seed boxes!

Knowing full well that I am never going to keep them in alphabetical, or any other order for that matter, I have clumped them together into the following groups:

Tomatoes /separator/ Chillies
Herbs/ separator/ Lettuces & similar
Root veg & chard/ separator/ Beans & peas


Here's hoping I get some sleep tonight!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Itchy fingers

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only gardener with itchy fingers at the moment.

It's crazy. All it takes is the feel of the fresh new potting soil and a glimpse of a little green hook of life rising through it a week later.

All of a sudden, every inch of surface under the grow lights is covered.

My new mega seed trays :) Rocket (L) and Chartwell & Amerikanischer Brauner lettuces (R)

My new mega seed trays :) coriander (L) and Matador spinach (R)

Chillies, coriander, rocket, chives and two types of parsley

Saturday, 9 February 2013


Ok, so I understand why the Aji Colorado seeds didn't germinate, being that I collected them myself before they'd matured. And I kind of expected last year's Trinidad Scorpion pot to be a bit on the bald side. Not one single seed from these two varieties germinated at all.

But this year's fresh new expensive Espelette & Hot Lemon Lord Nelson seeds? Pfff, what a disappointment. :(

I guess I should be a little more patient, as they've only been in the soil 12 days... But a few 2012 Jalastar seeds (unexpected) and all of the 2013 Lombardo have already popped up.

Lucky I have another 42 backup seeds about to germinate...


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Here we go again...

Having spent most of the winter sulking about the relatively rubbish vegetable summer we've just had, I pretty much decided to have a lazy 2013. And because the greenhouse seems to be infested with blight (or some other nasty stuff that eats plants) I decided to skip chillies and tomatoes this year.

However. Along comes January & February and all the magazines are going on and on about all the wonderful different varieties, and friends are boasting about their lovely little green babies flourishing under fluorescent lights in the basement...

Oh bugger it.

So I dug out last year's chilli seeds and sowed a few of them (Jalastar, Trinidad Scorpion
& Aji Colorado) until I'd bought some fresh seeds, just to combat the cravings. I then drove
as fast as I could to the local garden centre and bought Lombardo, Espelette & Hot Lemon seeds.
 As if that weren't enough, I got sucked into the world of online seed catalogues.

Package arrived from The Chili Pepper Company today

So. I've gone from "absolutely no chillies this year" to ... ummm...

Jalastar, Trinidad Scorpion, Aji Colorado, Lombardo, Espelette, Hot Lemon, Early Jalapeno, Padron, Purple Serrano and NuMex Bailey Piquin.



Welcome back by the way. Sorry I've been hibernating.