Due to my outstanding success story with my courgettes, it has fuelled my desire to continue to grow more into the winter months. So, what better to please than peas!
Feeling truimphant and full of posivitpea from my natural flair and green finger ability, nothing seems more appealing than the pea!
My research shows that it is quite possible to sow peas now until the beginning of November and get them established before the worst of the weather winter can bring. Then, with a little protection and there has been mention of fleece to cover them over the darkest month, they will arise triumphantly in early spring.
Howver, before I commence I need to get the right type of seed which needs to be hardy and is the round pea seed in preference to the wrinkled. The round seeds are smooth, so there is nowhere for water to collect as they swell in the first stage of germination, meaning they can be sown in colder, wetter conditions.
For winter growing, another thing to prepare is to have a few sticks to keep them off the soil and away from slugs.
My choice of pea is meteor which is smaller and grows up to 45cm high, so perfectand producing numerous small, but well-filled, pods.
I cant wait to get sowing and growing this perfect vegetable; flexible and loved by all!
Another thing I did during lockdown was to start to grow my own. Okay, so the picture opposite depicts a hearty basket of an array of vegetables fresh off the plot ready to cook, delight and feed a family of 10. My effort not so much so!
As a novice grower, I thought I would take it slow and go for quick wins, so after much research on the internet and discussing seeds in more detail than I ever imagined you could with my sisters who both seem to know so much more, I decided upon unicorn peppers and courgettes.
I ordered my plastic troughs on legs to make the whole experience easier and with a skip in my step went and bought my seeds.
There is something quite magical about growing things and you cant help but hope like Jack (as in Jack & The Beanstalk) that your seeds will grow into something amazingly impressive and be life changing - lockdown was a strange time with too much time on your hands to overthink things!
And so in one trough I had unicorn peppers that I lovingly used some old chopsticks and wire to encourage them to grow straight and strong and in that trough I added rocket, lemongrass and basil - an odd mixture admittedly. Rocket I love and its great to pop in a sandwich, basil to throw in with pasta and lemongrass in homage to my old car - its colour being lemongrass and name was Betty to whom my life has been quite dull since she departed!
The progress? Glad you asked. The unicorn peppers which I was excited by the name alone perhaps they would have horns or be pink and sparkly? were reliable little growers and everyday seemed to be doing their best. They knew their purpose and in all honesty have been that gift that just keeps giving. Flowers, peppers, flowers, peppers!
The only downfall was that no one liked their taste apart from me and it isnt just because I am a loyal grower as I have been accused! I found their taste quite refreshing and sharp, whereas everyone else said it was like eating a bit of plastic and as they discarded them to one side, I continued to crunch my way through to the last bite!
The rocket rocketed and was a regular in sandwiches and salads over the lovely weather during lockdown. The lemongrass got crushed and used in gin and the basil was plucked and placed in pasta dishes as envisaged.
And the courgettes? Well thats where the vegetable fairytale starts to go wrong! Firstly, it appears I was greedy and planted too many in one trough and these courgettes love a bit of earth and seem to suck it up from their roots as the level of earth began to fall. I had 9 seeds and everyone of them took and produced a pod and began to grow and grow they did. Big shaggy leaves growing unruly in every direction. I became obssessed with black fly, slugs, wasps, in fact anything that landed on my beloved courgettes during their growing stage.
When the weather was too hot, exposed, the leaves became scorched and I feared that I had been an irresponsible grower and not provided the correct level of shelter. But they got over being burnt and the strong ones survived.
Today 4 months and 23 days later to my joy there are 2 little hairy courgettes. Not identical, one a little bigger. Perhaps the two combined could produce a side serving for one.
In my excitement I have to share this wonderful news and run around the house telling all - well shouting uncontrollably like a crazy woman of the good news at this perhaps earlish hour on a Sunday morning! Nothing not a bean of response! Just go away - rude!
And so for Sunday lunch today sitting next to my roast beef, yorkshires, cauliflower cheese, leeks and sweetheart cabbage will be my lovely gorgeous little grown courgettes - just for me!