Tuesday 28 September 2010

Starting To Ripen

I have one chili pepper plant which has produced lots of chilies, but until now they have refused to ripen. Now, one by one, they are turning from green to red. I don't usually cook with chilies so wouldn't have grown the plant had it not been for my daughter buying me a matchbook of seeds for Christmas. This is a variety called Serrano, and the one plant has produced many chilies. Whether we will eat them or give them away remains to be seen.

I thought I would give you an update on the blue potatoes which I grew this year, Blue Danube. I wouldn't have ordered this particular potato had it not been for the fact that I qualified for an offer and bought the potatoes for 99p. The plants produced a good crop and there was little slug damage, however, when it came to boiling they just turned to mush. I tried baking some but their skins turned rock hard, no good for someone like me who thinks the skins are the nicest part of a baked potato. So on the whole, I was rather disappointed with this potato and won't be growing them again.

The garden got a good tidy up at the weekend. The rabbit hutches were brought down from the grass on to the patio for the winter where it's much easier to clean them out and tend to the rabbits' needs. They still get a good run around when the weather permits though. Lots of pots containing summer bedding have now been emptied out in to the compost and put away ready for next year. The garden is definitely winding down ready for winter.


  1. I grew Serrano chillies last year and I only got a few fruits that didn't ripen. I don't have a greenhouse so they were put against a hot wall. I cooked with a couple of the green ones but they weren't what I expected.

    This year I avoided chillies and tried mini bell peppers. So far, I've had loads of mini green peppers!

  2. I'm new to your blog. Very nice Serrano! I used mine green for salsa. They're getting bigger but not turning red. I'd need longer time of warm weather and we have a short growing season, maybe someday in a greenhouse!

  3. It's great to see the chillies ripening, good for a curry. I'm getting some great colours in the greenhouse with yellow, red and orange peppers, aubergines and Scotch Bonnet and Cayenne chillies. Oh and still a couple of dozen tomatoes to ripen yet!

  4. Hi Jo,
    I'm thinking serranos are pretty hot. I grew a few hot kinds last year, and ended up giving most of the peppers away. I dried some, but haven't remembered to use them. You may want to wear gloves when handling them.

    I had to laugh in a nice way about you saying your allotment "got a tidy up". My husband and I enjoyed watching a tv series with Judi Dench, and I can't remember the names of the others. She owned a secretary service, and had a grown daughter, and met up with the man she was in love with when a young woman... I'm assuming you know what I'm talking about. I always liked the way they said they were going to have this or that when they were about to do something.

    Thanks for giving me a smile.

  5. For the first time this year I sowed chillies on Jan 3rd - I've been using red chillies for a couple of months now. I shall do this again. I kept them indoors till the days got lighter then took them into the cold greenhouse in the day and brought them indoors at night.

    I think your experience is common with blue potatoes. Did you try steaming them in their skins? An Irish way with spuds - they often cook them in their skins.

  6. I know what you mean about rock hard skins on baked potatoes- I have found the same thing on ALL the varieties I have grown, which is making me wonder whether it's to do with being freshly dug rather than which variety they are. But if you know of one which doesn't bake rock hard I'd be interested to know which?

  7. Those are very pretty peppers. We don't eat a lot of the hot peppers too. I usually dry some and then add them to different meals.

  8. I think this time of year is a double edge sword...the garden starts to look messy so the clean up is good and it looks great for about day and then just looks cold and dead...i have to admit that I haven't got around to my tidy up yet but hopefully over the next week it will commence!!

  9. I think that 'Blue Danube' would get a thumbs down from me too Jo - I like the skins of my jacket spuds too :) My tidy up has still to start.

  10. If you cook with them wear protective clothing head to foot!!! Chillies are a natural biological weapong and caused me lots of grief last year!

  11. Thanks for visiting, Sarah. I've grown the Serrano chilies outside the greenhouse, I think this is the reason they're taking their time to ripen. The plant is covered in chilies though, they just need to turn red now.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting, Priscilla. I think mine might have ripened sooner if I'd kept the plant in my greenhouse, but it's been grown outdoors. There's about six or seven ripe chilies on the plant now so they're slowly ripening.

    My greenhouse is only 4X6, Damo, so I use it for my tomatoes, the chili has been grown outdoors. I don't think it's done too bad considering.

    I think I will end up giving my chilies away too, Sue, we're not lovers of hot food here. The English language is confusing sometimes, isn't it. I assume the programme you're talking about is As Time Goes By with Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer.

    It shows that it does pay off to sow some seeds early, Vegetable Heaven. I boiled the potatoes in their skins, I don't have a steamer. They weren't in the water long before they'd turned to mush.

    It may be due to the fact that they're fresh, Rachael, though the Lady Balfour which I also grew have been ok when baked. The problem with those though were that they had a lot of slug damage, if it isn't one thing it's another.

    We're not lovers of hot food, Vrtlarica, so the chilies will probably get given away. There'll be plenty of takers.

    You're right, Tanya. The garden looked nice when it was newly tidied up but now that it's rained again everything is looking very drab.

    There's still plenty of time for the tidy up, Anna, and if you don't get round to it then the insects will thank you. I did make sure that I left plenty of places for them to sleep for the winter.

    Ha ha. Sorry, Green Lane Allotments, but I had to laugh at that. I do sympathise though as I know it can be very painful if you're not properly protected. Hubby's uncle had a very nasty experience last year too involving chilies and eyes, ouch!

  12. My husband got some juice in his eyes and didn't even touch the things - still could have been worse.

  13. I don't eat chillies so I don't grow them.
    Some varieties of potatoes are like that regardless of how their cooked!
    With all the recent rain it's not worth trying to even just tidy up on the allotment or in the garden, but thankfully I've got nothing major to do. Flighty xx

  14. I've heard so many tales about chilies that it puts me off using them, Green Lane Allotments. I'm glad that I'm not a huge fan of them.

    I only grew these chilies as my daughter bought me some seed for Christmas, Flighty. I very rarely use them so wouldn't have bothered growing them otherwise. The rain was awful here yesterday. I had hoped to get to the allotment but I think I'd have needed a canoe.

  15. Hi jo
    Those are some good looking serranos

    They are nice to cook, i know they might be a bit spicy, but not as much (Ok, this comming from a mexican se be careful) what you can do is cook them with milk or cream, to make a mild spicy cream, the milk takes away some of the spiciness so they are much better

    Other trick is to cut them open and take away the middle part, the seeds and veins, that will take out most of the hotness too

    Also you can try so many Mexican recipes, serranos are a must for Mexican cuisine.

    Oh, one more thing, you dont need
    to let them ripe, we mostly use them greens.

    Too bad about your potatoes. Hope your winter crops grow great!

  16. Thanks for that info, ~fer. We don't eat much spicy food so I don't usually cook with chilies, but I might just give it a go.


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