Overwintering African Blue Basil, Chillis, Aubergines and Dividing Scorzonera


Overwintering African Blue Basil, Chillis, Aubergines and Dividing Scorzonera

Well first off I failed with the aubergines – it died a couple of months back and I forgot to let you all know. I’ve never got this to work even though Geoff Hamilton (the real Gardeners World presenter according to my dad – sorry Monty) says it is a perennial in two of his books. It may just be I haven’t twigged some really important aspect of overwintering it. If anyone knows how to do this please – I beg of you – drop me a line below.

The chillis are doing well and are showing only minor signs of being annoyed by winter. They are both still green. The African Blue Basil, as a perennial woody shrub, is still alive and both in leaf and in flower. I took 4 cuttings as an insurance policy and these, unfortunately, are taking a battering from some unseen pest. It’s not red spider mite like last time (there are no little orange bits nor wispy webs) but it is defoliating my cuttings. I need to pot them up and inspect them for pests. 

The scorzonera I have been eating recently (also called Black Oyster Plant) I have divided first, taking the tops with a bit of root and replanting those pieces in pots, in a protected part of the garden. There were six of them and they have rerooted and produced more leaves even in the middle of winter – a good result. In a month’s time I will replant them and eat them again next winter. This root is turning into a good permaculture staple, though I can’t manage to entirely remove all the slight bitterness of this plant, even when I douse them with olive oil and salt. The bitterness is no more bitter than beer, so if you like beer you will have no problems eating scorzonera.

With my continued failure to handle aubergine (egg plant) as a perennial and realising I really want to eat aubergines, I have bought a packet of seed and I have now sown them – indoors. I know I am breaking my own rules but I like aubergines more than any other vegetable. I intend to save seed and garden sustainably with them, though, even though I find growing from seed really annoying.

I have also sown Corn Salad and some of my own saved Coriander. The Corn Salad I know from experience self seeds like mad and is really hardy. I have unfortunately weeded it all up in a fit of tidying so I am trying again. My saved seed from Coriander: I am interested to see how it develops in the future. They say keeping your own seed allows your plants to adapt themselves to your environment.

Cheers all…

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