This week we've been having very cold nights. The temperature goes down to 0 degrees Celsius, and therefore I decided to clean our balcony garden before we lose everything to frost.
I woke up very early today, and I was lucky to see this stunning sunrise. We have the views from the east to the west from our balcony, so I could see the skies bright pink on one side and warm orange on the other side. I usually wake up too late to enjoy the sunrise, so this was a special moment for me. If the day starts like this then it's ought to be great, right? Well, it only took a couple of hours before it started to rain again, but luckily I managed to do the harvest before.
I harvested around 30 chillies. These are the very last chillies of this year, and the only ones that I won't preserve in any way. Given that my husband eats on average 3 chillies a day this harvest won't last long. And I am not exaggerating.
Earlier this year most of our chillies were perfect and they looked like we bought them from a grocery store. They were long and thin, just like they are supposed to be. These ones have more of a character 😊 They have various funny shapes and they are very hot as I didn't water them for two weeks (if you reduce water before the harvest they will become hotter).
Some of them are not perfectly red yet, but it doesn't matter that much as they still taste good. Actually, the best chilli sauce that I made this year was from the chilli peppers that I had to harvest from the garden before they were ripe, and all of them were green or orange. I say 'I had to' because I couldn't wait any longer to start the garden cleaning before winter. Otherwise I would have to do it in the rain.
These ones are the hottest chilli peppers that we have. Even my husband eats them sparingly and asked me to dry most of them because they are too hot. I must admit that I didn't even try them after what he said 😊 I like chillies, but if it's too hot for him I would definitely suffer.
Most of my herbs died off in August due to the heatwave. Our balcony gets direct sunlight from early in the morning until 5 PM, so they were burnt because we had 35 degrees Celsius for almost a week. As you can see I didn't remove the dried stalks as I thought they would not come back, but they did and they flourish even more than they did before the heatwave.
Even my marigolds are coming back to life! This little orange beauty made my day when I saw it.
And our self-sown lettuce seems to like the cold too. The old lettuce bolted and the seeds were spread around the containers, so now we have a supply of fresh lettuce on the balcony again.
My chocolate mint was a goner until it wasn't 😊
The pineapple mint came back too! I was thinking of removing the mint plants for next year, but seeing it coming back I will probably leave them and hope that they will return in spring again. It always comes back in the garden, so I don't see a reason why it wouldn't do the same in a container.
The lemon thyme returned too! I was so sad to see it destroyed as I didn't manage to use it much in the kitchen and I also didn't dry it for winter. It doesn't look like I will have enough to dry though, but at least I will be able to add it to a meal or two.
You can see the old stalks from the oregano. It struggled from the beginning as it was infected by thrips, so it wasn't that bad when it was burned in August. And now it looks much better than it ever did! And there are no thrips! (I guess they all died with the old leaves)
My agastache became one of my favourite herbs in the kitchen and I was heartbroken when it was gone. And now it's even flowering again 😊 Agastache has a special flavour that I can't describe, but it's a perfect addition to herbal butters or Mediterranean cous cous recipes.
It's amazing how the nature recovers itself with a change in the temperature and a bit of the rain.
I have harvested most of the herbs today to preserve for winter and I will cover them with a special fabric to help them survive the cold. I hope to see them flourishing next year again!
I have learned so much about gardening this year, and I can't wait to do it next year again 😊
Until next time...