Red Chilli Peppers

red chilli peppers

Intense red and a mild heat chilli that is fun to grow, eat or decorate with.  A few seeds on a sunny windowsill from February onwards will sprout in 2-3 weeks ready for transplanting into individual pots. Choose vigorous plants for potting on as they are ready. Peppers love free draining compost with a sprinkling of bonemeal.  Extra seedlings can be given away or recomposted.

I like to keep Pepper plants in a warm sunny spot. A patio is perfect as the embedded heat will released by paving during the night keeping roots warm.  In open ground I use miscanthus grass as a mulch to reflect light.  Feed regularly and remulch with fresh compost as necessary.

The fruits can be picked at green or red stage. Chillis can be stored in the freezer or dried for later use.  Take care when handling or eating chillis.

My favourite winter warmer is Celeriac Gratin with chilli peppers.

Peel and thinly slice the Celeriac. Rub sliced garlic around inside of baking dish.  Layer celeriac in baking dish with sliced red chillis scattered through. Pour over some cream/milk, season as required.

Growing stronger everyday.

peas in a bowl

Colours growing stronger every day.

As mid-summer approaches plants are beginning to throb with energy as they fill out and up.  Pumpkins heading off on their path towards Halloween’s ghosts and ghouls.  Peas popping up all over the place providing green pearls of goodness for salads, stir fries, roasts and risottos.  I can’t mention Peas without a nod to Mint.  Snip, tear or chop over peas, potatoes and salad.  If you don’t want to wait for dinner to enjoy the fresh taste and smell of Mint pick some sprigs and add them to a long cool drink.  With so many varieties of Mint available you can tweak flavours as you choose.

This is my first year picking Asparagus and the wait has been worth it.  My only complaint is that I had never previously tasted Asparagus in its full glory, i.e. when it is cut and eaten the same day or hour, preferably.  Asparagus has a six week picking window that is just coming to an end so I will have to wait another year for the pleasure of even more Asparagus to eat.  Next year there will be double the quantity of Asparagus as my second bed, planted 2 years ago, will be ready to crop. 

Early Chard has been a pleasure at many mealtimes already this year and the colourful Bright Lights variety brings flashes of colour in a sea of green.  There is a froth of softer white flowers in amongst the peas and Broad beans with more pods for picking every day.  Tiny yellow flowers appearing on the tomato plants and large deep throated Courgette flowers waiting to welcome pollinators. 

Now I’m dreaming of stuffed courgette flowers over flames as the Solstice Sun tips back South. 

Season cycles continue.

pumpkins

Wet grey days are perfect for tidying seed packets and making plans for 2020.  Alliums are sprouting despite the shorter days promising sweet smelling garlic to fill the kitchen next Autumn.  Roast dishes are a great way to celebrate winter vegetables and stay warm at the same time.  Add some sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme and Bay for an extra bonus of uplifting essences.  From dirt under your nails to fresh food on your plate the benefits of growing just keep piling up.