This year, I’m hoping for more Mediterranean weather because I want to grow some aubergines. Last year, I got a small pack of seeds from T&M, thinking 8 seeds, possibly 6 plants, would be enough. The year before, one of my dad’s neighbours gave me a handful of his, and they were fantastic. So that spurred me on to put the packet on my seeds list. I ordered the Moneymaker variety, thinking they might be nicer than the Black Enorma which are fine, but a little less flavour-ful than I like.
I’m in love with this aubergine photo from flickr. It’s part of why I like aubergines so much – they have such amazing colour.
Aubergines need a long growing season and need warmth to get them started. Really, they should be one of the first things you plant if you plant aubergines and you want to make the most of them. You can plant them outside, just as you would with tomatoes, but then you can only do it in late March or April, and they just won’t be as far along as ones you start inside and plant out later. They need it warm (18°-21°) and like to be surface-sown under a fine layer of vermiculite or compost. It’s a solanum, so essentially the same family as tomato and I plan on treating mine just as I do tomatoes.
Given the success of my 29 cent Lidl seeds last year, I figured I might as well make the most of theirs. I bought two packets – one just a standard packet and then a packet of an aubergine a little more interesting. In fact, actually, it’s the cheap one that is the interesting one because that just says ‘mixed’ and it could be anything in there. The other is a more select variety that cost me a little more. I’ve put them both in the propagator and will see how they get on.
I confess I love all things aubergine and could happily eat them every day. I’ve also been told I have to make some Baba Ganoush, so I’m going to use this David Lebovitz recipe. I love David Lebovitz. His food blogs always inspire me, and I like them because he usually uses ingredients that are easier to get in France. Plus, he doesn’t do that awful thing of just having cup measurements that I can never get my head around.
I could just live off ratatouille, of course, or chickpea and aubergine curry. Or griddled aubergine. Vegetarian moussaka. Aubergine stacks.
Mostly, the gardening is restricted to pruning and weeding at the moment. I did another row of vines yesterday. The Bellonne is still merrily running through my garden, though it seems to have brought a fair bit of algae with it, as you might expect since it runs underground in lots of places. So… as a consequence, my garden smells like a duck pond. Not a nice duck pond either. A stinky, foul, Godforsaken duck pond. Not so nice.
The ground is still too wet to dig properly, so I’m leaving it for a few days. There’s nothing that needs planting in anyway, and it’s not as if I don’t have plenty of other tasks to do. I’ve cleaned out the potting barn again, since it just fills with dust and leaves and detritus over the winter. The detritus, specifically, relates to the animals, since the chickens like to go in there and if it’s wet, Tilly will go and do her business in there too. Grrrr. I’ve washed a lot of my pots out ready for filling and I’m mostly just tidying. Inside as well as out.
I can’t believe I gave the house a really good clean just after Christmas – barely six weeks and the filth in here…. it’s almost unspeakable. Everything looks worse in the sunlight as well. I blame the dogs.
Right, back to work.