November 28, 2012
Well it would seem that a new crop of pimientos de padron is now a weekly affair. This afternoon Mary and I plucked 19 plump pimientos. The chilli plants are so plentiful that we could be very selective and only take those that are large and fully developed – no little runts this time.
Here’s the now obligatory hands-shot. And here’s a link to the previous crop for comparison.
And of course the best thing to do is to reach straight for the frying pan and get those things on the heat!
..and once they’re browned and blistered it’s time to give them a generous crack of salt and rack up the beers – for nothing goes better with pimientos than a cool ale. This truly is the king of drinking food.
These 19 largish chillies were enough for three people to snack on or two to get indulgently piggy.
Now, I have often heard the pimiento de padron referred to as ‘the roulette chilli’ – a name it gets from its habit of one in six chillies being significantly hotter than the others . Normally these are very mild and the hot ones are far from disastrous, but certainly have a little zing to them. I thought that this time with a decent(ish!) sample size we might keep track of how this plays out. Well the results are that out of 19 chillies 4 were hotties, so not too far wrong.
All in all I think that a packet of pimientos de padron seeds would make an excellent gift. Mine cost less than $10 (much of which was postage) and yielded over 30 plants. Not only do you get the enjoyment of growing these things from seedlings into verdant, bountiful bushes but also it would seem that you get a weekly excuse to pluck a whole pan’s worth, fry them up and crack out the beers. What could be better?
November 22, 2012
This week saw an excellent harvest of pimientos de padron. Unlike last fortnight’s effort these chillies are much larger. Repotting was definitely a good move and many of my plants are looking healthy and productive. Some are greener than others, but I’m keeping an eye on the yellowier ones to see if I can sort them out.
What’s not good, however, are the three diseased plants that I have (versus the 28 healthy ones). These plants have unusually thick leathery leaves that have curled significantly. They look very sickly indeed.
Having done a little search on the internet I have unearthed an absolute multitude of diseases that chillies are prone to. If you went by what I’ve read you’d think that these plants are impossible to grow! Everything from over-watering, under-watering, over-fertilising, under-fertilising, too much or too little sun, pests and parasites, nematodes, root-rot, virii… And it seems that everyone reports the same vague symptoms for everything.
So I’ve taken a stab in the dark and I’m going to go with some sort of parasite and gave them a spray with Confidor. If this turns out to be the solution, I’ll let the world know. Otherwise if someone recognises the issue feel free to chime in and leave a comment!
November 6, 2012
Today I picked my first proper crop of pimientos de padron. Technically this isn’t the first of my chillies that I’ve eaten – but certainly the first time that I’ve managed to pick more than one at a time. Naturally they went into the pan, got fried and then covered in salt. Yum!
It has been very hot and dry in Sydney over the last few weeks/month. This, combined with the small pots that some of my chillies are in, means that my fruit have not been as large as could be expected – they dry out and shrivel quite easily. The red ones have been on the bush too long (hoping they would get bigger), while the big green one is probably about 7cm long. Tall plants in small pots also have a habit of getting knocked over in the wind – so the sensible solution is to re-pot a few sizes larger.
In the picture above you can see quite how small my current pots are. Having been to the local hardware store I am appalled at quite how expensive plastic pots are – over $2 a pot for the nastiest of ‘cheap’ pots. So I am using plastic buckets that I’ve sourced from the local supermarket. The deli section gets its mayonnaise and cake icing delivered in them and then they get thrown out – so if you ask nicely you can get a whole bunch of them for free. All they need is a few holes drilled around the bottom rim for drainage.
You can see from the roots that it is indeed time for larger pots. Of course you don’t want to leave plants heavily pot-bound permanently, but letting them get a little bound certainly makes repotting easier because it holds all the soil to the roots while you knock them out of their pots. Before long these root balls will have grown out into their new soil.
And finally a picture of the chilli grove with its new up-sized pots. I’m always impressed how quickly chillies are appearing on each plant – but it is quite a challenge to keep them all adequately watered. Hopefully this will help things along.
May 4, 2012
Just a quick update on the Pimientos de Padron…
It’s been a little over two months since the seeds went into the ground and we’ve hit a milestone: flowers!
Surely this means tapas-imminent?
March 5, 2012
It’s been three weeks and the Pimientos de Padron chilli seeds have all well and truly sprouted. Of the 45 seeds that have been sown, all but two germinated.
The seed raising tray has done its job and it’s now time to pot them. This was a pretty simple affair, the trick being to poke your finger through the drain slot in the bottom of each compartment to push each plant proud before then delicately lifting them out. I scrounged as many pots as possible and filled each with some cheap potting mix. I used a wood offcut to make a plant shaped hole for each and in they went. Too easy!
February 16, 2012
After being introduced to the tapas sensation which is Pimientos de Padron, I just knew I had to grow this heirloom variety of chilli. This Spanish bar-snack is the ultimate in beer food. Simplicity is its forte – simply whole chillies fried in a pan until softened and starting to brown, then drizzled with balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sea salt. Yumbos!
I tracked down Southern Harvest as my seed supplier – they wanted $8 to deliver a pack to my door. Not exactly cheap, considering that more than half of that was going on postage for a 55c envelope, but hey not going to break the bank either. I picked up a seed raising tray, which again was a massive rip-off at $19 for the same plastic they make the little trays that chocolate biscuits come in. But at $30+ a kilo for chillis, I guess I can suck it up.
As you can see below the first shoots have poked through and it’s full-steam ahead for the chilli project!
UPDATE: I planted out 45 seeds and 44 have germinated. Score!