It’s official our spaces at Hampton Court in both the plant village and in the edible tastes marquee are confirmed and the planning can begin in earnest…
This year we wanted to build on our first show season in 2011 and produce something really exciting that would grab the public and our customers imagination. We started brainstorming straight after Hampton Court last year and after much discussion we finally settled on a present themed display for our Plants4Presents stand in the plant village but thought we would try something different in the Edible tastes marquee.
This Grow Your Own Curry theme was actually the bright idea of one of our nursery managers – Lee, who loves a good curry. And as it’s officially the nations favourite food we felt there might be a few others out there would would love to know more about growing their own curry truly from scratch.
We’ve been growing chillies, gingers, turmerics and the elusive Murraya korenjii curry leaf tree for several years now and we thought what better way to showcase the sheer range of plants we sell at Plants4Presents then to show the more exotic spices on mass in a lush jungle style planting.
So first off a schedule….
With just over 6 months to go we had already had to put in preliminary orders for some of the more exotic herbs and tubers so these can now be confirmed and chilli sowing can begin in earnest. We estimate that we will need 200 chilli plants for the display and a further 200 for sales in addition to our normal summer chilli sales… The most urgent are the friars hats that we intend to use as a feature plant at the back of the grow your own curry stand.
In the ground at the nursery we know we can get these to nearly 2m in height by July but the sowing has to start early and to achieve the same in pots we are going to need a heavy feeding regime. Friars hat’s are a habernero type chilli and I’m a massive fan of them stuffed and baked with cheese, grilled or sliced on pizzas. They are not that hot but they have a great flavour and look fantastic with their characteristic squashed hat shaped fruits.
Last year we grew these from bought seed but this year we harvested some of our organic crop for seeds and have experimented with drying them in two different ways. My hypotheses is that it won’t matter how they are dried as long as they are kept dry but we are trialling one batch of whole dried chillies and one batch of chillies where the seeds are separated, cleaned and dried without the fruit…. time will tell which germinate best!
After the chilli sowing the next task in line is building the display boxes and as carpentry isn’t my forte i’ve enlisted some help… more pictures as the carpentry progresses.