Let battle commence!

With an offer of three bags of grit for £12 at our nearest – and smallest – garden centre, we nipped out between showers – and before lockdown – to collect some for the next slug and snail deterrent experiment.

Operation Save my Salad

The first thing was to cover the compost in the exisiting growing bags with a layer of grit to see if that makes a difference and allows the parsley and mizuna to re-generate. I doubt the radishes will recover.

The second experiment was to place grit into the bottom of these plastic cat-litter trays then put pots of salad leaves on top, keeping them well away from the sides of the trays. If I use no more than two large pots in each tray, I can grow a larger quantity of crops in each pot.

I moved the remaining bags of potatoes from the Tiny Greenhouse into the Potting Shed, which gives more floor space to work in.

Meanwhile, this is what is currently growing.

Spring Onions

The third experiment is to place grit in the bottom of the tray and stand pots on small wooden blocks (because I’ve got them), which means I can fit in extra pots while still maintaining a gap between tray and pots.

I’ve also resurrected the Mini Greenhouse, though in a somewhat ramshackle style. At the start of this year, most of the plastic joints that held the shelves to the uprights had either snapped or were about to. Emergency splinting with canes could not prevent it from slowly lurching sideways.

But having used parts of it for temporary staging through the summer – while waiting for my husband to build a new wooden frame to fit the cover (still waiting) – I’ve repurposed it again into a tower with four instead of five shelves and tied the cover in place. It’s not pretty; it’s not perfect, but it gives some extra warmth to help germinate seeds.

Sweet Pepper Sensation!

With the days getting shorter and non-stop rain (or so it seemed) for the first couple of weeks in October, my pepper plants were struggling. Still infested with aphids despite regular spraying with soapy water, and with the remaining flowerbuds either falling off unpollinated or rotting on the plant, I decided something drastic had to be done.

I had a grand total of seven pepper fruits of various sizes. Remembering that peppers and tomatoes are members of the same family, I decided it would do no harm – and might even do some good – to go on the offensive. So I cut down all the stems and foliage from those plants that hadn’t actually formed peppers and put it in a bin liner ready for our next trip to the Recycling Centre, and stood the pots outside (not wanting to empty them onto the veg beds or into the compost bins until all remnants of aphids have gone – hopefully killed off by the first sharp frost).

That has left me with 5 pots of peppers and one of chilli peppers – which I didn’t realise I had, not being an aficionado of chillies.

Two weeks later, with the peppers showing no sign of increasing in size, I decided it was time to cut them off the plants and bring them indoor to see if they will ripen. I did remove all final traces of aphids before I brought them inside.

Lest you are under the impression that these are quite a decent size, the second image shows them in one of those small containers that had mushrooms from the supermarket. The largest pepper fits inside my hand (I have small hands).

I harvested some chillis too. Ditto the size – the longest one is two inches!

Then I found out that peppers don’t behave in the same way as tomatoes and they are NEVER going to ripen off the plant. So green peppers are the order of the day.

Was all that effort really worth it for so little reward?

If you haven’t grown peppers before and think you might like to try, then this article has some good advice, and suggestions for varieties to try.

Me? I’m not going to bother.