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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Indoor gardening

I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get my maincrop spuds in which are getting a bit overchitted but it's just not worth even trying at the moment. We've had some really good rain the last 3 days, about 35mm which is brilliant for keeping the stream running and doing my garden a world of good, but it's too wet to try doing anything involving soil outside. 

We managed to get a new tap and all the paraphenalia needed for our out of use IBC (the taps don't last very long - about 5 years before they start cracking/leaking which is a nuisance) and although the tap and postage from the UK cost about half what the 2nd hand IBC cost in the first place it's still cheaper than buying a new one. It's now full!

So indoor gardening is probably the best thing I can do right now. I've even sown some mustard and cress out of desperation to see something grow!

I always grow and keep basil indoors all year round - Thai basil because I love the flavour and it doesn't seem to like getting wet outdoors, and regular basil because although it grows very big in the veg patch it gets quite woody and the leaves become tough, and they are not nice to eat like that.

Thai basil sown in March; I'm already pinching it out.

Tomatoes on the other hand are difficult to raise inside as they grow very leggy. I have to start them, chillies and basil in a heated propagator but the basil and chillies don't seem to suffer from the legginess anywhere near as badly.

Tomatoes, chillies and 10 year old Lemon Grass seed - I think one has germinated!

Yesterday I brought my potting thingy into the cellar-cum-mud-room as I didn't want to take my little seedlings outside in the cold to the potting shed and got on with the pricking out.

I've just raised two kinds of cherry tomato from seed - Gardeners' Delight and Apero, from saved seed from a self seeded plant from last year. It came originally from a F1 plant but I couldn't see any difference at all, even though F1 plants are not supposed to come true from seed. Apero is one of those oval shaped cherry toms and is prolific and tasty. I've pricked out 10 of each and hope to give some to my neighbour as I certainly don't need that many!

Once I start getting them out in the cold frames next month to harden off they will start to thicken up and in a month or two you'd never know they started off so thin and leggy. What I also do is every time I pot them on I bury the leggy stems; it doesn't seem to do them any harm whatsoever and that way they don't get too tall.

I've also pricked out my precious and exceedingly expensive Gorria chillies - these are the variety of only slightly hot chilli which are better known as the famous Piment d'Espelette

Piment d'Espelette

I also have Jalapenos which are not hot despite what it says on the packet, but I'm happy with that as they are short thick skinned chillies brilliant for stuffing and quite delicious. I sowed Cayenne too but only 4 have germinated but that's fine as I have tons of dried ones from last year which will probably last me a couple of years. They make quite good decorations strung up with cotton and are still adorning door handles around the place....

Dried Cayenne Peppers

My windowsills are getting full and I do have to keep turning the trays around several times a day as the plants grow towards the light.

This isn't even all my seedlings! Need some plant swaps!!

As well as indoor gardening I guess this is cooking weather. I was amazed to collect this monster duck egg a few mornings ago. It weighed in at 155g - normal duck eggs are large but weigh on average 90-95g......


It was a lovely double yolker, so that plus another two duck eggs made up the 5 eggs needed for a quiche recipe, so with the grotty weather I had plenty of spare time to make shortcrust pastry, all by hand (even blind baking and all that malarky!) to make a quiche out of it.

OK, so I won't win any contests for the prettiest looking quiche.....

Left over pastry is brilliant for using up my jam and jelly by making jam tarts! The very last of the bits of pastry gets put out for the wild birds who love it, so there is no waste at all. That quiche was supposed to feed 4 according to the recipe but boy did we struggle eating a quarter each over two nights! Consequently the jam tarts are now in the freezer as that would have been overkill.  :-)


  1. Thanks Karavikar, though I'm not sure if the Wow is for the giant egg or my pastry skills..... ;-)

  2. Wow indeed,

    Interesting read, especially about the piment d'Espelette!
    You have me searching, for yet an other chilli!
    I now have 105 sorts, and counting.

    If you ever need some interesting seeds for chillies. . .

    Cheers Bart

  3. Hi Bart, thanks for commenting! I ordered the piment d'Espelette from here, if you are interested (it's in French)

    but they are very expensive because the postage is high for just one little packet of seeds... but hopefully I should never need to buy any more seeds. It is an experiment, I shall see how they do and will report back later on this blog! You have a LOT of different chillies - now that's WOW!!!