I’m getting pretty excited about the stuff I’ve got growing in my mum’s greenhouse. Not least, the aubergines. I have two grafted plants that I bought from Pennard Plants nursery. They have grown big and healthy and they’ve got lots of flowers.
I’ve been swatting up on aubergine advice on YouTube. Aubergines need maintenance, much like tomatoes, to ensure a good crop… pinching out offshoots and also the tips, once they have a few pollinated flowers on each stem. All in all, following a ‘less is more’ policy. This can be quite difficult to implement when reducing a plant and its flowers seems counterintuitive. Two or more flowers sharing the same point on a stem should be reduced to one, once one of them shows signs of fruit. It’s a bit difficult to know if they are pollinated or not, as the calyx are quite chunky and hide the initial stages of the developing fruit. Having read that some aubergines might struggle, I’ve been doing a bit of pollinating myself, using an artist’s brush to tickle the pollen. This normally happens with the breeze (hence might not happen in a greenhouse), but they don’t need much interference, if any, to get going…
My peppers are also grafted specimens, and I picked the first two fruits off this evening. I was going to wait for them to colour (green, to amber, to red), but they were swamping the stocky parent plants and, as I spotted two more developing, I thought I’d release the first brood. They knocked the socks off the average supermarket peppers… So fresh and crunchy! And fine-skinned, too.
Together with the first of the purple-podded peas, and some courgettes, they made a really tasty green ratatouille.
I also picked my first 2017 cucumber this evening. This is officially an outdoor variety, and I’ve got another one, less advanced, planted in the garden, which should stagger the production.
Now I’m just waiting for the tomatoes. One is turning red and, fingers crossed, I reckon my next ratatouille will have home-grown tomatoes in it. And maybe an aubergine.