Puddles and peppers

Thankfully, we haven’t taken quite such a bashing from the weather as the UK but the last few days here have been horrendous. The ground is saturated, there is no chance of doing anything outside and the last of the winter veg are sitting in deep puddles.

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It has definitely been a week of concentrating on the good things and enjoying some comfort food. We’ve had two ‘new’ kinds of vegetable to enjoy, starting with celeriac. Now I know it doesn’t look like much but out of 16 strong little plants this was the sole survivor so definitely worthy of celebration. We roasted it with potatoes and parsnips – delicious. I’m hoping for a better crop this year.

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Next, the chicory which has been sitting in pitch darkness for several months sprouting little chicons. It’s the first time we’ve grown it and didn’t really know what to expect. The chicons are more open than the shop-bought ones but the hearts are firm and braised in a little butter and white wine, the flavour is unbelievably good and sweet.

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In the polytunnel, it’s good to see trays of seedlings emerging with the promise of this year’s harvest. Both lots of onions – white ‘Ailsa Craig’ and red ‘Grenada’ – are going well, as are the ‘Greyhound’ summer cabbage. Those sweet peas in the background are going to have to go out soon, they are getting a little crazy.

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Despite the incessant rain and gales, it has on the whole been relatively mild. The broad beans haven’t looked back and don’t seem too bothered about the wet.

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Tidying up the pots at the front of the house, I found this little self-set soul hiding in the gravel. It’s very sheltered against the wall but I can’t help feeling there might still be a shock in store for it!

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In the steamy warmth of the propagator, things are going great guns. Six varieties of pepper – ‘Long Red Marconi’, ‘Long Slim’,‘ Habenero Orange’, ‘Nardello’, ‘Paprika Kalocsai’ and a hot Jalepeno – are romping away in the heat. Aubergines were one of our biggest successes last year so I’m trying three types this time, last year’s ‘Black Beauty’ along with ‘Long Purple’ and ‘Moneymaker’. All three have germinated far quicker than I expected so fingers crossed for another bumper harvest. Thanks to the kind generosity of a friend, I’ve just received some seeds for ‘Sweet Chocolate’ peppers and ‘Bonica’ aubergines to add to the collection. Mmm, lovely thoughts of summer things. . .

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Finally, in the flower garden the hellebores are putting on a brave show despite the weather. A little bit of spring colour to make me smile. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Puddles and peppers

  1. Wow it all looks so lovely. Your leeks look nice and fat! I have only just sowed my first batch of seeds, not really sure what happened to January. I’m sure your puddles will vanish in no time.

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  2. It’s a shame we can’t save up some of the rain for the summer, having said that there is always a chance the summer’s not much drier! They are very good looking leeks 🙂

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    • I think you’ve copped it worse than us in Brittany, hard to believe this time last year it was snow, ice and a bitter north-easterly wind. Poor daffies, I hope they recover – a little bit of spring is just what we all need now!

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  3. Interested in the endive – so popular in France and I’ve never even tried it. Was it easy to grow? Did you have it outside or in the polytunnel? Currently scouting around for some bio sweet potatoes to take home and plant once the frost has past. Our ground was wet last week but not desperate – apparently the weather has been good since our departure – fingers crossed it stays that way – I’m willing my artichokes to make it through their first winter.
    Last year we had the most delicious potatoes in Spain – ‘Melody’ they were called and they were from France. This year I’ve been trying to get hold locally ‘Caesar’ (recommended for baking) without success – then yesterday in the market here in Spain they had them – yet again from France…might be picking over for some small ones to chit….seems to be a huge variety here all French supplied.
    Hellebores look fab – did you grow those from seed? Is that a geranium behind it? Better get back to holiday….

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    • The endive was dead easy to grow from seed, sat in the garden all summer and didn’t mind the drought. They’ve been in the dark since late autumn and apparently we should get several chicons from each plant. I’d definitely grow them again. The hellebores are all plants I lifted from my Welsh garden, some were self-set. Unfortunately I lifted them when they weren’t flowering so missed a white beauty called ‘Snowdon’ which I’d love to replace one day. The plant behind is a geranium phaeum or ‘mourning widow’, it’s a rather sad name but grows well in very shady spots and has deep purple flowers in early spring.

      Good luck with the potato hunt!

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