Chilli-Fest and Grass Mowing
Welcome to March, the first month of Spring, so Winter has decided to throw every sort of unpleasant weather at us this last week. Strong winds, hail, rain, thunder, frost. You name it, with the exception of snow, we've had it and none of it has been conducive to gardening. Well that's not strictly true as the winds a few days ago really dried out the soil so I managed to get the mower out and on Feb 29th (still officially winter thanks to the Leap Year) I mowed the grass! I don't think I have ever done this so early and as the last cut was in December I have only had 2 months off grass-cutting duty when I would have expected far more! I'm glad I did it though as it shows off the crocuses nicely and the pigs wolfed down the cut grass.
Whilst the wind did dry out the soil, it did nothing to warm it up as it was a bitterly cold northerly that kept temperatures hovering around freezing point. When the sun came out temperatures in the polytunnel rose to the low twenties but soon fell back again at night ... which is why, despite having it on my To Do List, I have not sown my chilli seeds yet. Others will have sown them last month with some even sowing in January but these are gardeners with heated propagators and heated greenhouses, neither of which I have. I have at least put the compost near the fire to warm up!
I have decided to grow several varieties this year. When I was at the Eden Project last year I bought 4 packets of seeds in the shop there:
Perperone Corno Gallo, large juicy sweet fruits (not hot so probably actually better classified as a pepper, not a chilli)
Pereronchino Grisu'Ibrido which has a "one hot chilli" ranking and is detailed as hot on the packet - talk about vague!
Purple Haze said to have a respectable heat level of 75,000 SHUs
Piri-piri. The packet merely says "A small, hot chilli widely used in Asian cuisine" .... with an SHU of 175,000 - 250,000 !!!
SHU, if you are wondering, is the Scoville Heat Rating, a system for rating the heat of a chilli divised by Wilbur Scoville in 1912 using a process I don't really understand! It measured how much of the active "hot" ingredient of capsaicin is found in a chilli. Pure capsaicin has a SHU of 16,000,000 and the hottest chilli so far recorded is the Caroline Reaper with an SHU between 1,500,000 and 2,200,000. That is HOT!!
Hopefully the weather over the next week will be kinder - I have so much I need to be doing with pruning the rest of the fruit bushes a priority, closely followed by seed sowing and weeding - why do the weeds always grow first? Is your garden in spring or is winter still hanging on in there?
For more gardening goodies do head over to Fable and Folk for the HDYGG linky: