There are certain foods that I have on hand at all times because I like to add them into whatever I’m cooking whenever I can. Garlic is one; I add at least a whole head whenever I’m cooking 99% of my repertoire. Chilli peppers (capsicum annuum) are another. I never used to enjoy spicy food but my first pregnancy saw me become somewhat addicted to our amazing local curry house when we were living in South West London and I really developed a taste for heat in cooking which I’ve never lost. So peppers and chillis are always high on my list when planning a garden. The thing is, outside they’re never going to give you much of a return in terms of harvest in the UK I don’t think, plus I was planting late this year because our landscapers only finished installing our raised beds in early summer, but I tried. I had a couple of padron pepper plants, three sweet bell pepper plants and a couple of apache chilli plants that I bought at our village open garden day in the summer when I was helping to run the plant stall.
With the glorious summer that we had this year you’d think I might have expected bumper crops and in fact I did get large numbers of fruits (thank you bees) but the problem was our garden. We found shards of broken glass in the topsoil we bought in fill our raised beds and so we’ve had to start stripping the garden of all of our produce so that the beds can be emptied and then refilled. To say this is frustrating is a massive understatement, especially in the case of our peppers. We had a whole trug full of peppers and chillis, all of them shiny, all of them green and underdeveloped. What a waste! I find myself increasingly frustrated with this soil saga. Next year I’ll start the peppers and chillis early I think, and aim to replicate this success but earlier in the summer so they get to ripen and we get to eat them!