Tag Archives: Broad Beans in greenhouse

Chillis This week in the garden Week 9

Chillis This week in the garden Week 98

Chillis This week in the garden week 9

In particular, Rocoto. Sometimes also sold as Alberto’s Locoto. 

I first encountered this chilli pepper last year, and bought it only because the fruit was not standard chilli shape. In addition, it will also grow outside on a warm patio, and it can be overwintered, in the same way as a fuschia for example.

Overwintering gives the plant a head start, producing fruit faster and more of them.

The leaves are unlike the other chillis I grow as well. In fact they look more like a tomato, or deadly nightshade. They are large and hairy, and the flowers are small and purple.

The fruits are shaped like small bell peppers rather than the traditional and expected witches fingers or cones. They turn green to red as the mature, gradually bringing the branches down with their weight.

chillis this week in the garden
The unusual shaped Rocoto chilli

Rocoto chillis are easy to grow

This year the seed sown was from last years fruit, taken just before Christmas when my daughter used a couple to make chilli chocolate for her friends. I sowed the first of them barely dried out on New years Day. There was 100% germination in heated propagators through the mild January and occasionally frosty February.

Chillis this week in the garden
Rotoco chilli seedlings sown on January 22nd

Last week I moved the first ones on into individual pots. I want to pot these on quickly as they grow to maximise the outdoor season they will get in one of my suntraps.

Chillis this week in the garden
Rocoto chillis potted on in week 8

The original seeds were from Realseeds, a most helpful and friendly lot with loads of interesting seeds to choose from.  The website of the Chileman shows many varieties called Rocoto, with different colours of fruit and degrees of heat.

Mine are very much on the hotter end of tolerable.

And earlier this week I sowed 3 other varieties, some for the greenhouse but another that should grow outdoors. they should be ready to move on by mid-April.

Mulching This week in the garden Week 8

Mulching This week in the garden Week 8

Mulching This week in the garden week 8
After a dry period, maybe the longest since early in the year, I have been able to take care of some more tidying and mulching. 

That has involved taking back the old stems and withered foliage that had been attractive with a little winter frost. Now the frost has gone it just looks plain untidy without it.

Mulching borders
Borders with a little mulch to protect against any sharp frost

But it did provide some protection to crowns and emerging shoots when the occasional frost did arrive. Now that untidy protection has gone, a good mulch of home brewed compost is needed to protect for a few weeks. This will be worked into the ground by bugs and worms.

For me mulching is not about weed suppression; I hope the plant density will do most of that for me. It’s about providing a spring nutrition boost, and long-term soil improvement.

In the 3 years since my annual compost production was sufficient, the improvement in flower borders and raised beds has been fantastic. But the underlying silty clay needs to be constantly managed. So a good load each spring and prior to any  new planting keeps it in check.

Home grown compost for mulching

The volume required makes having your own compost supply essential. My 8 square meters plus leaf mould bins just about copes with the demand. To buy that in would cost a fortune. getting manure from a local farm delivered starts at about £50. The garden economics I use makes that £45 too much.

The material cleared from the flower borders has formed a new woody layer in the compost heap. Just as well as I have only about 1 cubic meter of compost ready. I have mown the grass once since New Years Day, but there is not enough real growth in it to provide the soft material needed for the next layer. A layer of partially rotted leaves will do instead for now.

Next week is pruning week, with roses, dogwoods and a small tree to attend to. What does not get used for cuttings will be shredded for yet another layer in the compost bin.



This week in the garden Week 7

This week in the garden Week 7

This week in the garden week 7
After a w
eek away for some winter sport and I have come back to – not much change in the garden. Or that is perhaps how it looks at first. A deeper look reveals cyclamen flowering well, primula and polyanthus colour dotted all over the beds, crocus in various stages of life and colours and daffodils not flowering.

Yes, not flowering. At one stage I had suspected that they would all be done and over by the end of January but the irregular cold checks have worked perfectly to delay them. In fact I don’t recall some of the varieties I have being this late in the years in this house.

Good news.

But the early growth in perennials has been checked back again, this week quite severely. Notably Crocosmia and Nerines, but also Osteospermum. This time they may take a while to recover, but in turn means that the first rush of colour in the borders will be pushed back, perhaps smoothing over a gap period I have in mid May.

In the greenhouse everything is rosy. Or perhaps beany. Broad beans and peas are growing well in the vacant greenhouse borders and in pots. This year I have not applied any water to them, leaving them to fight for whatever they can scrounge from the sopping earth outside.

And I have sown some runner beans too using the same principle, setting pots on damp earth in one corner and leaving them to it.

Keep an eye on Dahlia tubers

I have been checking the Dahlia tubers that are stored in there too, opening the crates and leaving them on the bench as much as possible to ensure no dampness gets in. I lost over 50 per cent of my stock last year to damp.

This week in the garden
Dahlia tubers drying out in storage

In the other greenhouse seeds are sprouting everywhere. Many are perennials that I will use to fill borders while other plants bulk up to split in the spring. These were sown on January 1st and are being pricked out and potted on already. Some are tough annuals like Calendula and French Marigold; I want to use as companion planting in the vegetable beds.

Another highlight this week in the garden were the chillies. Some regular, some small and brightly coloured and some for flavour. The Rotocos hit 350,000 on the Scoville scale; you don’t want to be taking a bite out of them. These are now pricked out into their first pots. I will keep the heat on them for a while to get them ready to plant out in May, some in pots and some just outside the greenhouse.

Cuttings taken in early January are also fully rooted and now being potted on, providing more plants for the first Abbotsbrook plant swap late in April or early May.

Another couple of frosty nights are forecast, so I have covered up a few things and tucked others into a cold frame.

This week in the garden Week 5

This week in the garden Week 5

This week in the garden Week 5
A wet and blowy weekend let to a brighter week, but the frost of Wednesday night will undoubtedly have done some damage.

This week in the garden I have cut back the Miscanthus in the west facing front garden, mainly because the leaves were being blown everywhere and the seed heads had been stripped. New green shoots were showing on this, but not yet on the Calamagrostis.

As a matter of choice I prefer to cut back without removing the new shoots, but it should not matter. Some major grass displays are cut back unceremoniously with a hedge trimmer regardless of what stage growth is. It is grass after all, and it grows like.. well, grass.

This week in the garden
Miscanthus trimmed back ready for new growth

I have also moved some plants that are in a north aspect, removing about fifteen Phormium Tenax fans, leaving “just” the other fifteen in place. After trimming back the fans so they can be planted without fear of falling or being blown over, I have donated them to neighbours. These architectural plants make great anchors to plant around as the are hardy and evergreen.

This area gets little sun below the fence line outside of Late May to August, and the soil remains cold and damp most of the time. I have some Cornus varieties close by, their winter coloured stems hopefully lifting the gloom. Behind them and under the tree I have planted about fifteeen Vinca Major Variegata, the large and robust variegated Periwinkle. It grows in light deprived areas, and the largely off-white leaf lifts the background.

This week in the garden
Vinca lifts the low light areas

I used this plant in another north facing area last year, but this time under a Holly tree, again with the idea that it might lift light levels and encourage a second look at the other plants in that area.

The frost will set back those early starters again, but also temper the progress of the daffs that had threatened to be over by the end of February.

In the greenhouse broad beans are now showing well, and to my surprise so are the peas. Peas just would not grow for the last two years, and this really was last chance saloon for them.

Purely as a bye-the-way test I put some seeds in to the empty  greenhouse borders. These beds are quite dry – I have added no water at all after an initial dampening – and it has worked.

I now want to sow some sweet peas to get them moving and ready to plant out in May.

Happy days!