Check out our videos containing some useful tips on how to sow and dig-in Green Manure.
Chillies are usually self-pollinating but additional assistance whether from wind, insects, bees or artificial pollination (hand pollination) has been shown to improve flower set and increase the peppers yield.
In the UK most chillies are grown in a greenhouse so there is little wind pollination & the number of insects/bees are lower than in the garden so artificial hand pollination will help. Simply use the tip of your finger or a small artist brush to move the pollen from one flower to the next. This is what insects do naturally as they fly from one flower/plant to another carrying the pollen on their bodies.
Chilli flowers are also prone to falling off prematurely and one of the reasons this happens is because pollination has not occurred so hand pollination can help. There are a number of other reasons why chilli pepper flowers fall off prematurely so please take a look at our Growing Advice Section ‘Why are my chilli pepper flowers falling off.’
An afternoon spent in the garden and a surplus of dainty rocket flowers led me to think that Fairy Cakes topped off with these edible flowers might make a very pretty tea-time treat.
I do think these cute little cakes turned out rather well but what I wasn’t expecting was how the flavour of the peppery rocket flowers complimented the sweet icing. A little burst of flavour that is quite hard to pinpoint but very intriguing.
Well worth a try!
Our trusted family ‘Fairy Cake’ recipe but any little cake recipe will do!
- 200g self-raising flour
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g butter
- 4 eggs
- icing sugar
- freshly picked rocket flowers
- 12 muffin cases
- Pre-heat oven to 190°C.
- Mix together the sugar, flour, butter & eggs in a large mixing bowl until creamy.
- Spoon mixture evenly into 12 muffin cake cases. (We use muffin cases as we like to fill the cases with lots of icing).
- Cook for 15-20mins.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Make up icing as per packet & spoon onto cakes.
- Pop a dainty rocket flower on top.
Why not have a go and perhaps try some other edible flowers when in season like pretty Rosemary or Borage!
Sometimes it is hard to think about veg that will be harvested next year especially when there is so much to do in the garden in May, but with a bit of planning you could be reaping the rewards in ‘The Hungry Gap’ of Winter & Spring.
Listed below are some of the varieties that can be sown in May to fill ‘the hungry gap’ when there is little homegrown veg available in the veg plot.
- Kale Black Tuscany
- Cabbages Red Drumhead
- Parsnip Gladiator
- Purple Sprouting Broccoli Red Arrow
- Cauliflower All The Year Round
- Kale Red Russian
Other than sowing the seed and a bit of weeding these Hungry Gap crops virtually look after themselves, they thrive on cold weather and cope well with a bit of neglect. They do occupy the soil for a long time but intercrop with quick growing veg like lettuce or radishes to make the most use of the veg patch.
There is a real sense of achievement when digging up your own Parsnips for Christmas dinner, of making a homegrown warming Vegetable Soup in the middle of Feb or eating the freshest possible tender succulent stems of Purple Sprouting Brocoli in Spring.
We thought we would share some of our favourite herb flower photos with you as it is often considered that by allowing herbs to flower it will be at the cost of flavour, but we hope you will agree that by letting 1 or 2 flower your garden/veg plot will be much improved.
Herb flowers are edible too! It is not just the foliage that can be eaten – a sprinkle of the tiny delicate flowers can add a touch of elegance, difference, colour & flavour to a salad & they are becoming increasingly popular frozen in ice-cubes in fashionable drinks.
Bees, butterflies & beneficial insects love herb flowers too and by encouraging these perfect pollinators your garden/plot will be positively buzzing with a hive of activity. The flowers themselves are so pretty they make a lovely addition to the flower garden themselves.
If you are short of space in the garden/veg plot or if your soil doesn’t suit a particular variety just grow them in containers, they will be perfectly happy & you can even place near your kitchen door for easy & quick fresh pickings.
Herbs are some of the most rewarding, easy & flavoursome plants to grow and their flowers are a real bonus.