Friday, February 7

The nightshades

Hear the word nightshade and chances are that the adjective 'deadly' comes to mind. The nightshade or solanaceae family of plants does contain plants that are harmful or even poisonous but a few of the food plants we grow also belong to the nightshade family. Potatoes and tomatoes are two food plants belonging to this group but peppers and aubergines (egg plants) are also members of the nightshade crew.

Peppers and aubergines are two crops that regularly feature in our must do better category. Maybe they suffer due to competition for space and attention from the tomatoes growing alongside them in the greenhouse. 

We tend to do better with the bull's horn shaped ones rather than the bell peppers.
Last year we grew Jimmy Nardello, King of the North, Paladio and Solero none of which performed really well. This year we are cutting varieties down to two. One is King of the North for no reason other than, as it is described as a cool season pepper, (that for one thing will increase our chance of a warm summer), we think it is a variety of bell pepper that we have most chance of getting a crop from. The other variety is Orange Bell. We decided that although the bull's horn peppers perform better the fruits have less kitchen value.

As for aubergines, last year was the best crop we have ever had. We grew a variety called Jackpot, a small variety which is supposed to be suited for container growing.
We're growing Jackpot again this year to see if it repeats last year's performance. If nothing else it looks pretty when in flower.

Our full list of seeds for 2014 can be found on our website here.


27 comments:

  1. I've struggled with peppers and aubergines as well Sue, and I agree with what you say about the bull's horn ones being of less value in the kitchen. I'm probably not going to grow any this year, although I did get some aubergines last year that were okay, although quite small. I think they were Moneymaker. If I don't grow any, again it will increase the chances of a nice long hot summer.

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    1. So some good will come of it CJ.

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  2. I have struggled with chilli peppers, possibly for the same reasons, competition from tomato plants. One last try this year with a new to me variety: Demon Red. They can apparently be grown outside in containers too, so I'll need your long hot summer please!

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    1. We can grow chilli peppers, Jessica but choose not to !:(

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  3. It took me three years to get an aubergine plant to fruit, but once I managed it I gave up growing them. Last year was the best pepper year I've ever had, in fact, I've still got a bag full cut and frozen. I'm not bothering with them this year, they just take up so much space and my greenhouse is only small. I ended up moving them outside last year, but it didn't really matter because we had such a lovely summer, but I don't think they'd do so well outside in our normal summers.

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    1. WE froze some too but the bull's horn varieties are so faffy to clean off and prepare.

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  4. I have never had any luck with aubergines so gave up on them last year when everyone got such great crops...typical!! My bell peppers never seem to do as well as the conical ones!!

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    1. If one of us gets a pepper that is prolific we'll have to share expertise, Tanya

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  5. I didn't do terribly well with peppers last year and have given up totally on aubergines and I have enough dried chillies to last me a lifetime - so I reckon it will just be tomatoes in the greenhouse this year.

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    1. We are just masochists and like to give ourselves a seemingly impossible challenge, Elaine but have to admit of giving up on celery and celeriac.

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  6. I don't grow peppers and aubergines in my greenhouse because of I have no free spot there. I grow cucumbers and tomatoes only there. I tried to plant some peppers in a soil but the weather was not warm and all my peppers were eaten by insects.

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    1. We grow outdoor cucumbers Nadezda which usually do well.

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  7. I'm not bothering with aubergines again. peppers are on the last chance list this year too.

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    1. Peppers do keep popping on our last chance list, Jo but seem to survuve as do the aubergines.

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  8. I've had extremely little experience in growing veg but have tried both the Aubergine and peppers, varietal names I could not begin to remember. They were a complete disaster for a novice like me! I do like the idea of what you describe as a Cool Season pepper. I'll make a note of it's name and get my sister in law to give them a try - it can be her turn to fail ;)

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    1. I like the idea of sharing failures, Angie, At least the cool season pepper may make us have a good summer.,

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  9. Peppers were disappointing for us too Sue. Thought we'd started them off too late. Dad always used to grow 3 or 4 plants on the windowsill indoors and got a few proper sized peppers off of each, but in our big greenhouse (which you'd think would be better) ours were pretty pathetic- couple of teeny fruit on each. Last chance? Maybe!

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    1. We all seem to be in the same boat, Jill

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  10. I wish I liked peppers, because I have seeds for several interesting varieties, sent to me by Eddy Ceyssens (who you probably know?). The Garnet peppers I grew last year were impressive, but very late to ripen, and not particularly valuable as a food crop. All mine went into Smoked Paprika - which seemed a pitifully small return for all my work.

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    1. It's a bit like me with chillies Mark. No don't know Eddie.

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  11. Fab post Sue I am growing aubergines for the first time and peppers both salad and chillies I brought one chillies plant last year and I am not sure if it will come out of dormancy but have sown fresh seeds thanks to one of my seedy penpals this year so fingers cross have a safe weekend

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  12. How lovely to be reminded of such a fab harvest. My chilies did fantastic last year, I still have a few in the greenhouse. There's no telling what will thrive is there?xxx

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    1. It was more a could have done better harvest, Snowbird.

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  13. The purple eggplants look so cute, I want to try plant it on my garden. Now, I'm growing five varieties of eggplants and ten varieties of chilli peppers. I have never tried your varieties. I love to try something new. It's so challanging.

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  14. I wasn't impressed with the taste on mine last year, first year of growing, but I don't think I looked after them terribly well and I can't even remember which variety it was! Trying again this year with varieties recommended for cool northern climates, hoping to cut back some of the plants shading the wooden greenhouse - the toms get the greenhouse in the most sun! Good luck, will be interested to see how you do with Orange Bell as it is one of the ones I am trying.

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    1. Shade from our grapevine could be a factor, Janet. We'll have to compare our Orange Bells.

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