Hello and welcome to our new blog, over the next few months we are going to keep you up to date with the goings on in our greenhouse, polytunnels and raised bed.
We have sown sweetcorn in a Unapod propagator in the polytunnel, they germinate at temperatures above 10oc, we’ve set the propagator at 18C to give the seeds the best chance of a healthy start. The sweetcorn will be planted in our raised beds once they are ready. We will keep you up to date with the progress over the next few months.
The chilli plants are coming on nicely, in the polytunnel we have a Quadgrow planter with Ring of Fire already producing fruit and currently standing at 40cm tall and it should ripen up fairly soon. Ring of Fire is a very popular cayenne chilli, it produces very large yields of chillies approximately 1cm wide by 10cms long, they are quite hot measuring 70,000 – 80,000 on the Scoville scale and the plant is very attractive, which makes it popular for patios. They are thin-walled so dry extremely well and make great chilli powder.
We are also growing Vampire, Portugal, Gorria, World Beater, Hungarian Black and Chenzo in our polytunnel. So far Portugal, Gorria and Hungarian Black are producing fruit, Chenzo and world beater are both producing flowers but no fruit as yet. Vampire is a little behind the other chillies at the moment as it has not yet produced any flowers, however the purple flowers and subsequent blood red fruit should be well worth the wait..
Ring of Fire, Gorria Chillie, Hungarian Black Chilli
As it has been fairly wet outside it is a good idea to keep a lookout for slug and snail attacks as these pests will strip plants of all their new growth. Keep the base of your plants clear from any dead leaves and watch out for the tell-tale slime trails around your pots. If you do have a problem with slugs then slug pellets are an effective way of keeping them under control. We use organic child-safe and pet-safe Slug Gone which is made from sheep wool.
Tomatoes are another favourite of ours and we have a total of 7 different varieties growing, there are F1 Shirley, Alisa Craig, Sungold, Fantasio, Ciliegia rossa, Brandywine and Brandywine Red Landis. The Brandywine and Brandywine Red Landis were only recently planted into the Quadgrow system and have already reached 35cm this delicious heirloom variety is considered to be one of the best flavoured beefsteak tomatoes. The Red Landis Brandywines produce a larger fruit with the same great flavour and slightly later in the season.
Brandywine Tomatoes in Quadgrow planter
We are very excited that the aubergines are already in full flower, these should be fruiting fairly soon. Aubergines have a reputation for attracting pests, the new grafted plants are incredibly resistant. The flowers have only just started to open but I would expect to be harvesting fruit from the July onwards.
It’s not all about tall-croppers, we also have two Quadgrow Root Veg Planters. These are planted with garlic, beans, parsnips, kohlrabi, swede, turnip and carrots. The carrots are a rainbow mix so we looking forward to harvesting these multi-coloured favourites. At the front of the planter is Kaohlrabi ‘Kolibri’ the plant is still quite young however we should start to see the base of the stems swell to around golf ball size, once harvested the bulb can be cooked or eaten raw and the leaves can be cooked in much the same way as spinach, I will cover this in more detail when they are ready to be harvested.
In the greenhouse, Paul’s tomatoes in the Vivigrow planter have already reached over 2 meters having tripled in size in just a month! These should keep on going up to 9 meters and as they continue to grow, Paul will train the plants around the frame. The Vivigrow planter produces such fast growth because the plants are grown in super aerated water rather than wet soil, this nutrient filled water is pumped in a continuous stream over the roots maintaining a perfect balance of nutrient, water and oxygen.
Vivigrow with tomatoes Sungold, Rosada and olivade
The exotics growing in the Rain and Drain planter are starting to ripen up, we have papaya and bananas. The papaya also has lots of flowers ready for next year’s harvest.
Unlike many of the fruits normally grown in the UK, papaya produce’s flowers on this season’s growth which in turn will ripen ready to be harvested next year.
Papaya ripening & Papaya Flowers
We’re very excited that we have 6 Banana ‘pups’ which have been harvested from the older Banana plants growing in their own Rain and Drain planters, these will be ready to produce fruit in 3 seasons
Back to the polytunnel and our radishes growing in the Saladgrow salad planters are ready to be harvested, you will know they are ready when the radish reaches roughly golf ball size and has turned bright red. To harvest the radish we used a hand fork to gently loosen the roots from the soil and then gently pulled the radish along with its tap root from the planter. These will keep for roughly a week and taste great on a salad.
Sowing Radish seeds
Now that we have harvested this crop we can get a second lot sown in our planter and have yet more radishes in just 5-6 weeks. The seeds are sown in rows around 2.5 centimetres apart and should germinate quickly showing new shoots in around a week.
Finally today we have planted up the last of our chillies for this year in a Chilligrow planter, we have Vampire and Chenzo and Nikita. The pictures below show a step by step of how we planted up.
First we placed the FeederMat through the hole in the bottom of the pot and filled the pot with compost making sure there was good contact between the compost and wick. Next the plants were placed one to a pot and then the pots placed on top of the reservoir.
Next time we will be setting up a Solar Quadgrow in the polytunnel with aubergine, courgette and French bean.