Spring is in the air

Spring has definitely arrived – the sunshine, the crisp cool air, the sprouting plants….this tempted us out onto the balcony to tidy it up for the 2019 growing season. Pots needed to be filled, others topped up and some first plants planted….and of course the grilling season had to be initiated with the first BBQ in the 19 degree March sunshine 🙂

Apart from tidying the balcony, we also started sowing seeds. See below an overview of what we have decided to grow. Seeds already germinating are indicated by an asterisk:

After many years of trying out our luck with different varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers we are focusing this year on the ones which gave us the largest crops in the past:

  • Tomato Red Berry*
  • Cucumber F1 Louisa*

A few years ago we had a bumper year of growing a large variety of chillies. It was exciting, colourful and spicy 😉 Last year we had some troubles with young chilli plants being destroyed by green flies (aphids). This year we decided to try again and will take extra care of our chilli plants to try and obtain as large a crop as few years ago. We are trying out a variety of chillies with colourful flowers and fruits:

  • Serrano Purple*, a Mexican chilli variety with stunning purple flowers and chillies ripening from green to purpe to red…apparently good flavour and gentle heat
  • Royal Black* for its intriguing dark purple/black  foliage and hot chillies
  • Chinese Hangijao 5* and Hangijao 8, so called ‘space chillies’ as they apparently originate from seeds shot into space, which caused gene mutations leading to extra large chillies. I’m not sure at the moment how true this is – will need to try and find some scientific literature before I believe it 😉
  • Scotch Bonnet Tabago, flavoursome and can be spicy, depending on the environmental conditions during growth.
  • Mushroom Yellow* with bright yellow chillies
  • 7 Pot Brainstrain Red* with funky brain like appearance
  • Habanero Chocolate, which we grew a few years ago, producing very spicy chillies. Watch out! 😉
  • Numex Centennial with purple and red chillies
  • Bolivian Rainbow with multicoloured chillies leading to rainbow like plants

Then we are also sowing some aubergine seeds – these are new vareities we haven’t tried in the past:

  • Aubergine Farmers Long*
  • Aubergine Ping Tung

…and a plant hugely successful on our balcony last year will also have a space on our balcony this year:

  • Red Malabar Spinach, a stunning vine with succulent spinach like leaves. If grown in full sun, the leaves are small, tender and sweet. If grown in shade it produces bigger more succulent leaves. Excellent in salads and also wilted down.

New to our balcony this year will be a large variety of edible leaves. Salads can just be wonderful with a mixture of different leaves and herbs. People often dismiss salad. It is boring and tasteless they say…not true! Just putting in a little effort with a mix of leaves and a nice dressing and some cheese on top makes just the difference. Just be inspired:

  • Mizuna F1 Red Empire, an oriental green with dark red leaves
  • Celery Leaf Red Soup, a red celery variety
  • Herb Coriander Calypso, the first cut and come-again, slow bolting coriander originating bred in the UK
  • Herb Coriander Confetti, carrot-like foliage with a sweet coriander taste
  • Mustard Red Carpet, baby leaf mustard with striking red colour
  • Herb Ice Plant, for adding texture to salads
  • Sweetcorn Shoots F1 Royalty which, germinated and grown in the dark, are sweet and tender
  • Komatsuna F1 Comred, baby leaves with green stems and red leaves

 

 

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