Red Hot

The many shades of green which dominate the vegetable garden are beginning to be punctuated by vivid bursts of red. Tomatoes, chillies and sweet peppers alike are ripening, their scarlet fruits offering up delicious tasty fare.

Among the tomatoes, Tomatoberry and Tigerella have been the first to turn red. Sweet Million, Andine Cornue and Heinz are still all green. The tomatoberries in particular are delicious, with a much stronger flavour than the toms we buy in the shops outside of the harvest season.

Tomatoberry tomatoes - the first to ripen

Tomatoberry tomatoes – the first to ripen

I like to have a few tomatoes with lunch at my desk in work, so a week ago I took my three Tiny Tim plants to the office. In a warm position next to my computer they’re doing very well, thankfully not alll ripening at once, as that would make for a very tomatoey lunch!

My new friend in the office: Tiny Tim.

My new friend in the office: Tiny Tim.

Meanwhile, chillies turning red are Medina, Jalapeño (usually picked green but if you start them early enough they’ll mature to red before the end of season slowdown) and Hungarian Hot Wax.

Hungarian Hot Wax chillies

Hungarian Hot Wax chillies

I’ve a few plants of a Czechoslovakian sweet pepper calles Semaroh, from the wonderful Real Seeds. Unusual varieties are always tempting to try and I was won over by a photo showing long multicoloured peppers. Mine aren’t showing the same yellow and red shades but there are some individual fruits which are red and green at the same time. That multicoloured thing on peppers and chillis I find mesmerising.

Semaroh sweet peppers. I love the multi-coloured ones.

Semaroh sweet peppers. I love the multi-coloured ones.

Nearby the lettuces had reached the end of the road so I pulled the remains out this weekend, snipping off some beautiful purple leaves. I wanted to make a colourful salad for an on-line competition so combined the leaves with some tomato, beetroot, courgette, red spring onion, broad beans and various other pickings and whipped up a lemon balm pesto to drizzle over it.

Summer salad colours

Summer salad colours

Back to practicalities, having cleared expired plants from various of the raised beds recently it was time to sow fast crops which could profit from the last couple of warmish months.

Mustard Spinach, sown today

Mustard Spinach, sown today

Mustard Spinach, Mizuna and mixed lettuces went in the area vacated by pea plants. And I replaced turnips and carrots with a mix of different radishes and a row of broccoli raab, supposed to be ready in 60 days.

String marks a row of radishes and another of broccoli raab

String marks a row of radishes and another of broccoli raab

Finally I put some spare pea seeds in a sprouter box on the windowsill. Kept damp and warm, these should make delicious and decorative pea shoots within a few weeks, which are lovely as a garnish on all sorts of hot meals.

Pea shoots on the way

Pea shoots on the way

Did I say ‘finally’? The garden is such a hive of activity just now, it feels like a raft of sowing and growing has only just begun.

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