Saturday, 24 April 2010

Bogarting the slug beer…

I thought I might get some poster work done today, but events once again conspired to deny me electricity and thus kept me out of the office.

The good news is that the strawberries arrived this morning, 12 each of Mara Des Bois and Tenira from Ken Muir. They were well packed in a custom made box that screamed URGENT LIVE PLANTS! and yet it came second class post. I also see that it is addressed to Yorkshire and not County Durham for some reason and that the website still lists the order as pending. Hmmmnn… This may explain why everything looked pretty sad and lifeless when I unpacked them. I suspect they may have been in a depot for a week – possibly grounded by the volcano.

This was all in stark contrast to the experience I had with Anna Valley Chillies yesterday. My Gran had given me some old Chilli seeds ages ago but they completely failed to germinate, which was a relief as it was a hot Cayenne and I wasn’t looking forward to eating one in front of her and pretending to find it delicious. I’m not a fan of hot chilli and don’t see anything clever about eating something that causes pain and discomfort in the area that I am using to taste things with. In the *jungle, sliced super-hot green chillies were pretty much the only ‘flavouring’ that was available to make my twice daily ration of Dal-Bhatt slightly less monotonous, so my choice was between insipid or inflammable. As there was already a 10% chance that any meal would contain a surprise comedy ingredient like dysentery I mostly chose to forego the possibility of turning explosive Diarrhoea into a chemical weapon.

With Gran’s hot chillies a no show, I decided to order some ready grown seedlings of a more civilised variety. After a bit of Googling I came across Anna Valley Chillies who seemed to know what they were talking about and had a sensible selection. In the end I went for Pepperoncini and Spanish Spice, which I think is an F1 hybrid, both were said to rate 2 out 10 for heat and seemed like they’d be more interesting to cook with as the write up specifically mentioned the word flavour. They arrived next day, amazingly well packed with good leaves and a torpedo of roots tightly wrapped in Clingfilm, all surrounded by what looked like pipe insulation foam. They perked up within minutes of being potted up and I’m actually looking forward to tasting them - my Gran need never know that these aren’t the same chillies.

This afternoon, while I sat on a pile of grow-bags happily potting up the strawberries into my two big Gardman pop-up planters, the cat sat behind me and did her best to infuriate a series of very large and angry bees and wasps (yes we have some really big wasps already) by repeatedly poking them, and once they were suitably irritated swatting them up the back of my T shirt as I bent over. How we laughed – not!

It has been baking hot today and whilst refilling the slug traps with Sainsbury’s cheapest own brand bitter I thought ‘sod it!’ and decided that the slugs would have to buy their own beer tonight. It was surprisingly cold (having sat in the garage for a week) and as I was unsurprisingly hot it tasted rather good. I can see now why men have sheds – I totally get it. I promise to post some photos of stuff tomorrow.

* There you go, I'm doing it again. Told you so.


  1. AT, just on board here and wanted to drop a note on how much I have enjoyed reading your post(s). - G

  2. In my experience, strawberries always look sad when delivered, but they soon perk up once they are potted up. I've noticed lots of very large bees around too, and lots of butterflies which is good as I hardly saw any last year.

  3. You've got me worried, as I've sown chilli de cayenne this year. D'you think if I just cook them whole it'll be OK?

  4. Gary - cheers for stopping by and helping me to feel slightly more reconnected to the rest of the world. I have recently suspected that I was becoming a bit of a recluse so every comment and 'follower' is a bonus.

    Jo - That's very reassuring as the Mara des Bois look really dodgy and brown, the Tenira at least looked alive when they arrived. My backup plan is to nip round to the garden centre down the road and pick up a load of good size plants and jam them into some hanging baskets.

    Is - I know as much about cooking as I do about gardening so wouldn't like to dispense health and safety tips RE cooking chillies. I would try picking them before they turned red and removing seeds and pith. I suspect that if you added them whole to a saucepan full of simmering stuff they would act like a teabag of pure evil and the heat would steep out of them. But hey, what do I know.

  5. haha I also slurp up the slug's beer ! I'm putting out some sand, too, just in case.