Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: courgette

Courgettes Peppers and Tomatoes – Summer Salad

This morning I am sowing seeds of a variety of courgettes, bell peppers and tomatoes. They are all late going in so I am being very optimistic when I dream of Summer Salad. The only things I am confident of are the Sungold Tomatoes.

Green, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

I already had saved seeds of Bell Peppers. I have put a generous amount of seeds in a large pot to allow for some of them not to germinate as they are quite old. This large capsicum form is known as bell pepper. The only difference between bell peppers and capsicum is the presence of capsaicin which is a lipophilic chemical that produces a burning sensation in the mouth. Bell peppers do not contain this chemical.

My other tall black pot contains seeds of both Long Sweet Red Chilli Peppers and Yellow Sweets Banana Pepper. Banana pepper seeds need high soil temperatures to germinate. Start them indoors 40-60 days before transplanting time. You can grow banana peppers from seeds or buy young plants.

Tomato Sungold

There are three substantial plants of Tomato Sungold sitting on the window ledge. They were purchased last year from thompson-morgan.com and delivered a week ago as posti-plugs. They have come on well since I repotted them so I have high hopes of a good harvest from them. I have grown these tomatoes from seed before and was amazed at how tall the plants grew and how many fruits we had from them. The taste was perfect.

Tomato Sungold F1 is a cherry tomato firmly established as one of the sweetest and tastiest available. Produces an abundance of golden coloured fruit throughout the summer. A cordon tomato that is suitable for growing in the greenhouse, allotment or garden. Tomato Sungold will produce small orange, tasty tomatoes that are perfect for salads.

My Sungold from 2008

Easter Bank Holiday Monday – Sowing Seeds of Courgette and Squash

COVID-19 News Update

Deaths in UK hospitals rose to 11,329 – up by 717in 24 hours

Our Prime Minister has been thanking the NHS for saving lives for weeks. Today he has thanked them for saving his life as he has left the hospital following his own personal fight against COVID-19

Courgette Zephyr F1 Hybrid

As promised yesterday I have made a start on sowing the squash this morning .I have sown the last three seeds of the Courgette Zephyr, an F1 Hybrid variety purchased from thompson-morgan.com. I have grown these successfully before. I have placed three seeds in a 7″ pot of moist general purpose compost. These seeds are best sown vertically I have found. I have enclosed the pot in a polythene bag and put it on the window sill. They should germinate in about 7 days and hopefully be flowering in June for an Autumn harvest.

This distinctive variety produces attractive, creamy-yellow cylindrical fruits with an unusual pale green tip. The strong, bushy plants of Courgette Zephyr produce fruits with a firm texture and a delicious nutty flavour if harvested regularly when no more than 6″ long.

Butternut Squash Hunter F1

Next seeds to be sown are six Butternut Squash Hunter, an F1 hybrid bought from Premier Seeds Direct. These fruits are a family favourite and I have treated them the same way as the courgette seeds.

Bred specifically for the UK and Northern European climate this variety delivers outstanding crops over a variety of UK summer conditions. Ready for harvesting up to four weeks earlier than other hybrids with fruits averaging 1kg with very high yields per plant.

Saturday 16th May 2020 – Update on the Courgettes and Squash – Laura bravely went and begged an old tyre from next doors skip and we have made a little garden for the squash and courgettes. There is a group of seven plants and I have high hopes for them. The seeds grew into very healthy plants and they lived on the window ledge until today.

Fingers crossed that we have seen the last of the frost but I have built up a protective surround of plastic covered netting with polythene bubble wrap. My only worry is overcrowding. I am hoping that the plants head for the skies and cling onto the netting.

Easter Sunday 12th Apr 2020

The number of people who have died in hospital with COVID-19 in the UK passes 10,000, after a daily rise of 737. (10,612)

Its the time of the year to sow seeds of Courgette and Squash. I have quite a few seeds in the seedbox and this morning’s plan was to get them sown into 3″ pots of damp compost. I plan to sow some Hunter Butternut Squash, Courgettes Tromboncino, Black Beauty, Zephyr, Tuscany and All Green Bush. Its a little late in the year but I am also planning to sow Green Bell Peppers and Pepper Sweet Banana.

Queuing to lay their egg

The chickens in the garden are absolutely oblivious to the virus and are laying happily. All queueing up for the same nest box with no thought of social distancing.

The death toll, combined with a busy day trying to order an online food shop plus cooking an Easter Sunday Roast, has meant that I am sitting here at the computer, dinner has been cooked, eaten and washing up done, the shopping is ordered for Wednesday at 7 am, My Herculean task for the day. ‘Herculean task’ seems to be the latest, constantly repeated phrase on the news at the moment. The government’s description of their continuing struggle to find PPE for the front line workers in the NHS.

I am now sitting looking at the seed packets but no sowing has been done. I feel weary so the sowing will have to be postponed until tomorrow.

Courgette – Nano Verde, Tuscany, Black Beauty, Di Nizza, Zephyr, All Green Bush.

This years courgette seeds have all been chitted using the damp kitchen towel method. The Tuscany were virtually climbing out of the box so I have popped them in a bit of compost to stretch out. The rest are behaving normally so I expect them to germinate in a few days. I have decided on two of each and am crossing my fingers that they don’t get drowned by exceptionally heavy rain like last years. If they all thrive that will be twelve plants which is too many even though the varieties vary quite a lot with one being a yellow variety and another a round type. I will face that dilemma when I come to it. The two Tuscany are already potted on into 7″ pots and the Zephyr will be ready tomorrow. The rest, however, are yet to show any sign of life. I have taken them out of the chitting box and put them into compost but I may have to try new seeds.

Courgettes are easy to grow with two plants producing plenty enough for most families. Best picked small for best flavour, these plants are also very prolific. Courgettes are not frost hardy which means plant them out in June when the risk of frosts has passed. You can sow Courgettes either inside or outside depending on the weather where you live. I think it’s safer to sow indoors and plant out later. I prefer to chit seeds and then, when they have germinated well pop them into a pot of moist seed compost. Courgettes will also be fine in an unheated greenhouse or poly tunnel but you must protect them from frost.

3 week old courgette seedling plantAfter about 3 weeks courgette seedlings will have used up most of the nutrients in the small pot of seed compost but it will still be too cold to plant out. Pot the plants on into a larger pot with fresh compost.

 

Rain – Courgette and Squash

After weeks of dry weather the rain came with a vengance last night accompanied by thunder and lightening. It is still raining steadily today but a nice fine rain that is ok to work in.

I have put the flower seedlings into their final bed now and they look happy and will bed in nicely if this fine rain continues. They are Nasturtium, Lupin and Campion. I have also filled an oblong planter with Nasturtium and placed it alongside the rose bed. They will attract Hover Flies which in turn should keep my roses free from green fly.

I have potted on the biggest of the tomatoes now. Four are in place at the allotment in the lean to and the other six are at home in the garden. Today I have sown nine Butternut Squash seeds saved from last year. They look a bit feeble though so if they don’t show through I shall have to buy some fresh seeds. The two courgette plants seem to be doing well and I have put them outside to harden off a bit. The four Cucumber plants are still on the window ledge and look very frail. They are the long white bought last year from T&M. I don’t hold out much hope for them.

Courgette and Mushroom Gratin

 

We had the usual glut of courgettes this year and I have used some of them in this recipe, given to me by Marie, my Yoga teacher.

3 table spoons of olive oil

2 medium Courgettes thickly sliced

3 large flat mushrooms sliced

4 large ripe tomatoes sliced

2 teaspoons of dried Oregano

3oz grated cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 200. Heat the oil in a pan and add the sliced courgettes and mushrooms and cook through for a few minutes until golden. Add the tomatoes and heat through. Arrange the mixture in a baking dish and sprinkle over the oregano and cheese. Season to taste. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Remove the foil and finish off under the grill. I have tried this replacing the cheese with Carbonara sauce. It is lovely. Thanks Marie.

A Few Hours At The Allotment

We spent a lovely few hours at the plot this morning and caught up on loads of jobs. We put in the last of the potatoes which were the second batch of Charlotte and British Queen. We planted up the three courgette plants All Green Bush and put a polythene cover over until the plants are a bit hardier. I had left a tray of runner bean plants White Lady in the fruit tunnel to harden off and I noticed that most of them had been eaten by something so I am putting another batch in today to try and catch up. Into the brassica tunnel we put twenty five cabbage Greyhound plants, thirteen cauliflower All The Year Round and ten onion Marathon. Onion – The regular consumption of onions has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure  helping to prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and therefore reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.


 

 

 

 

A greyhound cabbage from last year

Courgette All Green Bush – Cucurbita Pepo

This afternoon I have sown four seeds of the Courgette All Green Bush. They are in a 7″ pot with a polythene cover and standing on the computer box for a little bottom heat. Germination update – these seeds germinated very well with three out of four making a good plant so thumbs up for Johnsons seeds.

A versatile variety that yields dark green tender fruits in abundance. Can be harvested as courgettes or left to develop into marrows. info from Johnsons Seeds

Courgette Black Beauty

Today has been a sad day as I have had to cull the two lame Apenzeller chicks. The remaining three cockerels are strong and will be going to a new home soon as we can’t keep boys here. On a more positive note the first of the Buff Plymouth Rock chicks has hatched and it looks very healthy.

courgette black beautyI have sown my last single seed of Courgette Black Beauty which has done very well for us in the past three years. Germination should take 7-14 days and it should be ready to plant out in early May. It is a very prolific plant amd fruits need to be picked when small for the best taste. If we have had problems getting to the plot in the past we have found some fruit to have reached 1′ in a very short time.

Courgette Anyone?

It has been a while since I wrote on the weblog but there hasn’t been much to report. The weather has gone from one extreme to another and there is a definite hint of Autumn in the air already. We are getting loads of runner beans every visit now and we have been amazed at how prolific the four courgette plants are. Every time we go to the plots we bring home a carrier bag full of beans and at least two courgettes which seem to grow overnight. We had never eaten courgettes before but luckily we do enjoy them aswell as being able to give some to family and friends. We continue to dig up the potatoes and it seems like about 50% are blight free so not as bad as we thought and we haven’t had to buy any. The tomatoes have produced a few fruit but on the whole both the tomatoes and the cucumbers have been very disappointing. We shall have to try harder next year.

pumpkin

The pumpkin plant that survived is now enormous with quite a few smallish fruit and one very large beautiful golden orb which Rob has sat on a piece of carpet and looks very grand. The butternut squash and the one surviving melon plant are growing slowly. The lettuce plants have been very nice but have come to an end before the tomatoes have got started so some problems in the planning there.

 

 

sweetcorn

Both the baby corn and the big sweetcorn plants are thriving with cobs already swelling on the bigger plants so we are hoping for a good harvest from them.

We heard that we got 78 points in the local council competition but don’t really know what this means and so as we have received no congratulatory phone call we must assume that the judges did pop their heads into the lean to on that dreaded judgement day and we came out bottom of the class. Ah well.