Ruud Kleinpaste: Sowing and Planting time!

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My vege garden awaits the species that germinate from seeds…sowing is what you do right now.
Peppers comprise the capsicum group. They go from the colourful reds, yellows, orange to the
green “Bell” Peppers. My standard colour to a salad.
The hotter members of the family are the chilli peppers.
These plants require quite a good, high temperature to germinate, so there’s little point in sowing them outside while we still encounter cool nights. If you can give them more than 20 degrees Celsius you’re ahead of the game.
Sow in pots or seed trays and don’t bury the seeds deeper than a centimetre.
Seed-raising mix Not Too Wet! I often “mist” them with a water bottle, rather than “gluk-gluk- gluk” them with a watering can. All are relatively easy to grow and don’t require a lot of space.
They’ll take at least 7 weeks before you can transplant them into a glasshouse, tunnelhouse or
out in a frost-free environment outside. Staking is a good idea… let them “grow up”!
They are Gross Feeders that would appreciate regular liquid fertiliser treatments when on their way.
There are many varieties of Bell Peppers (check Kings Seeds catalogue!) some have a surprising range of colour mixes and keep an eye out for the smaller variety Jingle Belles.
Chillies are very similar in horticultural treatment and they totally vary in “hotness”. They can even have flavours other than “oh-My-God”! If you’re not sure about their strength, get one of the macho male grandkids to pre-taste a little bit …
That leads us nicely to YANG
When you’ve been “done” by peppers or chillies or sambal (my parents schooled me in hot
Indonesian food!) don’t drink water (or beer), but use yogurt or cucumber (or “ketimun”) to
balance the fire attack in your mouth.
Now’s a good moment to sow the seeds of cucumbers and we have a great range of choices here:
Some great varieties on the market:
My fave: Iznik F1 (see catalogue Kings Seeds) nice and small – just 10 cm long – easy in lunch boxes and you simply use the whole thing in one salad – no wrapping of remnants in the fridge.
Lebanese are always useful as you eat them skin and all; spacemaster is a great producer. Diva F1 is another smaller variety and rather resistant to powdery mildew
Green apple is a round cucumber; something different! And the gherkin-like Home-made Pickles is used to pickle them when still small
Transplant in mid-November: Plant them in free-draining and fertile soil; keep them well- watered. My trick is to mulch the root-zone with at least 5 cm (pref: 10 cm!) of decent mulch – it keeps the subterranean roots nice and cool and stops too much evaporation
To save space: plant them under a sturdy “trellis” in which they can climb up – help them along, from time to time by tying them up the structure.
If you let them flop all over the ground they require a lot more room.
I liquid fertilise them (like my tomatoes) every week or two: water and fertiliser at the same time!
Selamat Maka

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