Southbourne Gardens

A slice of the good life.


All Change At Southbourne Gardens

If you read regularly you may have noticed that things have been a little erratic of late, both in terms of the number of posts I’ve been writing and the days on which they’re published.  In part this has been due to our recent travels but also because of a project I’ve been involved in behind the scenes.


This is now complete and  I’m very pleased to announce that on Friday I will launch a new website for Southbourne Gardens. There will be some new features, you will be able to print out the recipes for example and it will be far more visual making things easier to find in the archives.

If you follow the blog via e mail you will still receive e mail notifications as normal so there will be no change and for those that have WordPress accounts the blog will still appear in your reader, however if you would like an e mail notification you will need to ‘subscribe’.  I’ve tried to make the process as simple as possible and hope it doesn’t cause any inconvenience.

I’m very excited about the new site and I’m hoping that you will like it as much as I do.

Before I finish I want to thank all of you who take the time to read the blog regularly and take time out to comment, you’re support has really meant a lot to me over the last couple of years and makes it a pleasure to write the posts.

This will be the last update before the change so I look forward to seeing you all on the flip side.



How To Grow Courgettes

If you’re new or newish to vegetable gardening one of the most straightforward things to grow is a courgette plant.  The seeds are easy to handle, they germinate quickly and the seedlings grow at such a satisfyingly speedy rate that even the most impatient of us couldn’t fail to be pleased.  This also makes them an ideal project to undertake with children, whilst pumpkins and squash are more favoured in this respect because of their impressive size, courgettes crop more quickly and reliably, making them, I think, a better choice.


There’s still time for an August harvest so if you’d like to try some here’s how it goes.  Usually you’ll get five seeds in a packet, always a dilemma because you won’t need five plants, two or three will keep a family well fed all summer long, so either sow what you think you’ll need or share the plants with a friend.For each seed you need a 7cm pot filled three quarters full with seed compost, stand this in a tray of water until compost is moist and then cover with another 2cm of compost.  Place on a sunny window sill or in a greenhouse and keep damp.  Once they get their second set of ‘proper leaves’ they can be planted outside in a sunny, sheltered position leaving a meter between each plant. Keep them well watered.


They are delicious picked and eaten when small, about 10cm long and of course if you can’t wait the flowers are edible as well.  I’m growing variety Bianca di Trieste from Pennard Plants which appears to have sold out, Sarah Raven do have stock of it but you’ll also find plenty of choice at your local garden centre or online from the major seed suppliers such as Thompson & Morgan if you prefer.



The Chilli Challenge May Update

I’m well aware that Derek was due to talk irrigation systems in this month’s update but I’m pushing all that aside because the big news is that we have flowers on some of the plants and that’s always going to be more interesting to me as well as making for a prettier photograph.  Suffice to say the irrigation system worked well while we were away on holiday and with the exception of a few leaves being nibbled, by what we’re not sure, we returned to all the plants looking healthy.

Hungarian Hot Wax

The Aji Limon, Ancho, Hot Wax, Cayenne and Kung Po have been potted on again and having outgrown the cold frame are now in trays outside the green house where they seem despite the cooler days this week to be quite happy. Whilst the Jalapeño, Vampire, Torpedo Rosso and Frigatello are still inside.

Hungarian Hot Wax

Did I mention that we had also bought some plants from Victoriana Nursery?  I drove down to Kent a few weeks ago and picked up some replacements for the failed Habañeros, Stephen recommended a variety called Hot Paper Lantern and I also bought a Scotch Bonnet and a Padron.  This brings our total amount of plants up to forty one, plenty I think for all the recipes I talked about back in January.  A bit of sun and we should be well on our way.

Hungarian Hot Wax

If you’d like to add a link to your chilli blog posts in the comments then please do.