Thursday, 2 June 2011

The first chilli, and other such matters...

We have Lift-Off! The first chilli fruit has set...

This is on the "Hot Portugal" plant. OK, so it's not hugely impressive yet, but hopefully it is a sign of things to come. To get any chillis this early in the year is a success for me.

The potatoes are also nearing readiness, I think.

The appearance of flowers on the potato plants is a sign of approaching maturity. The first tubers are probably useable now, though most likely very small. I'm going to leave my plants for another couple of weeks yet, in order to maximise the yield (please note: this takes a lot of willpower, since home-grown new potatoes fresh from the garden are a highly-desirable delicacy in my view).

Since this post has moved away from being about chillis and more towards being a general update, I might as well show you how my carrots are getting on.

In the past I have always had big problems with Carrot Root Fly, so this year my sole attempt at producing any carrots is in this old washing-up bowl. I have sown a fast-growing variety, "Amsterdam 3 - Sprint" from Mr.Fothergill's, which may just produce something useable before the flies find them. At present the bowl is sitting on top of my garden table, which puts it well above the height at which Carrot Root Flies allegedly cruise (supposedly 18" above ground level). If they do come on OK I will pick them at the "finger" stage and use them as salad ingredients.

To finish off, here's an arty collage of photos showing the state of play in my garden at the end of May:

This is a sort of panorama. Hanging out of the window of our spare bedroom, you can see the veg plot to your left; the patio straight in front, and the shrub-border to the right (with the road behind). I just wish the weather was summery enough to persuade me to shift all that stuff off the patio and get it ready for us to sit outside...


  1. Fingers crossed for your carrots, I feel for you there...I've never ever been able to grow more than a tiny one or two measly little things for one reason or another! Another year though, another attempt, like you, I won't give up!!

  2. Everything looks superb!

    Always exciting when the first of something begins to take shape. Hopefully the first of many!

    Have a good day!


  3. Hi Mark, Your plants look great. It won't be long until you will be picking chilis. I finally got able to comment again! It was a simple thing, but another blogger had to tell me how to correct the problem. Bloggers are great! Have fun in your garden! Egretta

  4. Oh that is most definitely a chilli - how blooming exciting! Although I do find potatoes much more exciting, I think it's the digging for them, akin to digging for treasure, that I enjoy so much about a potato. There's a little thrill in every find.

    I have gone carrot mad this year, we don't seem to have any bug problems with them, or at least I haven't in the past, but I am still yet to produce a decent one. Let's hope that with several hundred in the ground, one at least will deliver.

  5. Exciting! You will have many veggies to harvest by next month. I wonder how long chili needs to mature at your garden. Here in our place takes forever to wait. But in the tropics it turn red so fast. Does carrot fly hate certain plants?

  6. How wonderful your garden looks! I enjoyed my crop of chilli's this year (south australia so in different seasons)and have dried some of them and keep using them as I'm cooking. Don't grow potatoes at home anymore as we have someone leasing our centre pivot circle to grow potatoes so we just dig some up from there when we needed them.

  7. Congrats on the chilli, ours are just coming into flower now. I had the same problem with carrot fly last year so I'm doing them in tubs in the greenhouse to avoid it too. :)

  8. Congrats on your 1st chilli; mine aren't far behind, although i have dwarfed two of my plants by premature 'pinching'. Good idea on the carrots, no doubt u'll have success. I've done container carrots for same reason. Your updated 'My Plot' page is great and amazed at how tidy your garden is after the leaves of winter. Great job (as usual)!

  9. Great blog. You have a beautiful garden and everything looks so healthy!

  10. Mark, greetings from Greece,

    I would like to introduce you to our favourite and mostly eaten peppers in Greece. The green/yellow sweet banana pepper. Thinner skinned than bell peppers they are ideal for eating raw in greek salads or simply frying them and then optionally simmer them in a tomato sauce with oregano or frying them coated in batter or stuffing them with a mix of egg and cheese and frying or baking.

    Bell peppers are mostly for stuffing.

    P.S.You need to prick the banana peppers before you fry them otherwise they explode if they haven't been cut open otherwise.

    P.S.1. Also our bell peppers are not as thick skinned as the variety you find in the UK. They resemble very much the banana peppers in taste and flesh. As a result when you stuff and bake them their skin becomes crispier and not so soft and watery.

    If you can't find any of these seeds I can have a look for you.

  11. Hey Mariza, long time no see! Great to hear from you again; and of course I have great respect for your knowledge of Greek foods and recipes. The trouble is, bell peppers give me amazing indigestion, so I don't normally eat them. I can usually manage OK with chillis though - presumably because we tend to eat them in smaller quantities. The cooking method you describe sounds fabulous. Do you grow these banana peppers yourself? (If so, I want to see some pictures!)

  12. Of course I do, everybody grows them, usually from plants and not so often from seeds. This year we are a bit behind you in season as here in the Greek mountains it has been raining all May. However when I get my first banana peppers I'll send you photos. Bell peppers in the UK are thick skinned and too fleshy and become very watery when baked, roasted or fried. Not what I like too. Maybe these sweet banana peppers are better suited to your stomach.


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