Hydroponics Update

Earlier in the year we responded to the 'Frankenstein' claims around hydroponics to see whether this was a way for us to grow in the future. We started out with tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers and courgettes. The tomatoes have done well for us with crop after crop of cherry tomatoes, these have been sweet little jewels nestled in our harvest basket and we have had so many that we have frozen some for an injection of summer into our winter stews and bakes. We haven't gone futuristic in our feeds, a mix of seaweed feed and epsom salts flowed through our system. However, I have to be honest, with the passing of my Dad, my mind has not been on gardening - I admit this in the film below - and I have neglected the system in the greenhouse, the water tank probably ran dry awhile back and I have not had the energy of the happiness in my life to do so. However, this neglect has done wonders for the chillies. 

Hydroponics

It was Carol who discovered a bumper crop of red chillies in the greenhouse after she fought back an errant blackberry - we have plans to cut these out because we can forage for blackberries around the area and they always taste better, and they seem to scratch less than these vicious bastards by the side of the path; yes, we know we should have put them elsewhere or got thornless. Hindsight is a wonderful thing for the smug - whilst in the greenhouse she discovered two cucumbers, sadly the courgette didn't do anything but we suspected it might not due to the late planting. The chillies and the remaining tomatoes have romped away in the late summer heat and we are now on our second basket of super hot chillies. We also grew bell peppers for the first time and we have had around a dozen off two plants.

Vegetables in a basket

The chillies are being turned into chilli jam and peri-peri style sauce. The bell peppers have already been eaten on pizza, added to sauces and salads. We are not adverse to drying some chillies, pickling others and freezing the remaining. Whether this is down to the hot summer or the hydroponics is to be seen but it certainly highlights a growing system that supports a problem crop for us. At 1330ft above sea level we have struggled to grow more 'exotic crops', as the temperature here can wildly fluctuate in what can only be described as giants playing tennis with boulders. Temperatures don't sink around here, they fall to earth and scar it. This is one of the reasons we are taking up the raised bed cause. Raised beds warm up quicker are easier to manage and are an old way of growing, just like hydroponics; we are learning from the past to grow in the future.

Chillies

I will leave you with news about bad backs, Carol getting excited over blackberries and their relative size to her thumb and a root around one of our baskets.


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