THE LAST OF THE PEPPERS
We’ve had a very good harvest despite the weather this summer. I actually think they liked the extra rain.
We still have some of our chilli and hot peppers plants left. They will continue to provide a display in the glasshouse until Christmas.
At Rosemoor we grow sweet, chilli and hot peppers. Peppers fall into three groups. The sweet peppers, the chilli peppers and the hot peppers. The sweet pepper and the chilli pepper belong to one species – Capsicum annum, whereas the hot pepper is a different species – Capsicum frutescens. These are also known as cayenne peppers and are branching perennials growing up to 1.5m tall, whereas the sweet peppers are annual. Also, the fruit on Capsicum annum point downwards while those of Capsicum frutescens point up.
Sweet peppers are first sown in March [on the 3rd this year] in the nursery, and grown outside for the summer, after the danger of frost has passed. Hot and chilli peppers are normally grown under glass as they require warmer temperatures than sweet peppers. For the last few years we have tried them outside. While they are not as good as when grown under glass – depending on the summer - we do get a reasonable crop.
GLOBE ARTICHOKES - FIRST YEAR FROM SEED
We raise our globe artichokes from seed each year and select the best plants from which to take cuttings. Globe artichokes do not remain productive for long so we grow them as a 3 year crop - a bit like strawberries - and then replace them with new plants.
TIDYING UP THE ORIENTAL GREENS
Two sowings were made this year, the first on 30th July and the second on 5th September. Oriental greens are best sown in late summer. They have a tendency to bolt if sown too early, when the days are still lengthening and the temperature is low. The cropping from the first sowing is nearly over; despite sowing in July many of them have bolted and will not make suitable plants to go through the winter.
However, so far the second sowing is looking good. Most oriental greens are hardy, some such as pak choi will take a few degrees of frost and others like the mustards and Yukina Tatsoi are fully hardy.
They are very prone to slug damage, however, as you can see from the photo.
WINTER LETTUCE IN RAISED BED
We took the covers off the winter lettuce this week to give them an airing.
Winter lettuce, although hardy, needs some protection through the winter. We grow them in raised beds with plastic covers.
There are only a few cultivars suitable for growing over winter and in the south west it is important to only choose cultivars that are resistant to Downy mildew. We have found ‘Rosetta’ and ‘Fristina’ to have good resistance to mildew, which will produce good lettuce heads by March next year when given the protection of a plastic cover. They were sown under glass on 5th September and planted in the raised beds on 14th October.
STRINGING UP ONIONS
Onions are strung up in the traditional manner to provide an attractive display in the veg garden shelter, but this also provides a good way of storing them for the winter.
First a loop is made in a double length of strong string.
The first onion is passed through this loop and “locked” in place. Fig
Successive onions are passed through the double string and then back through again, working up the string in layers of three.
With a bit of luck you can end up with a prize-winning display.
The onions grew well this year but had to be harvested early because of attack by downy mildew in July. This happens to us every year but seems to be getting earlier. Downy mildew is a disease that first attacks the leaves and will eventually infect the bulbs causing them to rot in store. So at the first sign of the disease it is important to harvest the crop, which prevents the disease from spreading into the bulb.
Garry Preston, Gardener, Fruit & Veg Garden