Fig Roles

The biggest harvests coming in from the garden at the moment are tomatoes: delicious, strong-tasting, deep red tomatoes. And happily there are so many ways of enjoying them that the numbers are by no means daunting. But they’re closely followed in quantity by figs of all things. The fig tree in the corner by the shed is about 8 feet / 2.5m high now and offers up several ripe fruit every day. At the weekend several of them went into a nice fig and feta cheese tart.

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Shop-bought flaky pastry, thickly-sliced figs, crumbled feta, fresh thyme from the herb box and a bit of time in the oven: it was a cinch to make. Drizzled with a bit of balsamic it tasted very nice.

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Looking back, my very first sowing activity of the year was starting off several varieties of superhot chilli seeds back in January. Since then they’ve been carefully nurtured to the point of being great-looking healthy plants but with not a single chilli yet.

Bushy chilli plants: Peach Bhut, Pink Tiger and Maya Pimento

Bushy chilli plants: Peach Bhut, Pink Tiger and Maya Pimento

I know it’s very late in the season, but some of the plants are otherwise in such good health – lush, green and packed with flower buds – that it’d be a crime not to try and keep them going. I’ll more than likely bring them indoors and try something creative to give them lots of light, perhaps even some grow lights.

Tiny Maya Pimento flowers

Tiny Maya Pimento flowers

If that doesn’t produce fruit then I’ll get drastic and cut them right back and overwinter them. The theory has it that a chilli plant in its second season will fruit prolifically, but there are just as many tales of outputs being poor. If it comes to it, I hope lots of care and sticking to the overwintering rulebook – prune right back, sparse watering, no feed, medium temperature – will deliver results next summer. That doesn’t half feel a long time away though.

Calabrese starting to form

Calabrese starting to form

In the meantime it’s enjoyable to watch the calabrese starting to show. The row of Autumn Spear was badly nibbled at by caterpillars earlier in the year but a couple of dustings with pyrethum powder did the trick and they look very lush now. This is proper round-headed calabrese – the thing that supermarkets tend to call broccoli – and the heads should start to fill out as the temperatures drop soon. With other winter cropping things like Pak Choi and parsnips all doing well, just as it feels the season is coming to an end, it’s only just beginning 🙂

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