Hooters Hall

Polytunnel Pineapples, Tomatoes, Basil & Shallots

A few years ago while on holiday in Cornwall we visited the lost gardens of Heligan. It’s a beautiful garden and the background of how it was rescued from decay and ruin is an excellent read. If you search for lost gardens of heligan on Amazon you can find the book and DVDs. One of the most interesting things at Heligan is the Pineapple Pit. It is heated by horse manure and designed specifically for growing Pineapples, a prized rare plant in Victorian times. You can read more about the Heligan Pineapple Pit on their blog post The story of the £10,000 Pineapple

We don’t have a pineapple pit at Hooters Hall but we do have our hot beds now so I’ve decided to have a go propagating some pineapple tops. This is going to be a long term project. Once a Pineapple top has successfully rooted it will take 2 years before it flowers.

I bought my pineapples from the supermarket. There are lots of You Tube videos and written information online about propagating pineapples. Basically you need to slice off the top then strip the leaves off the bottom inch or so. As you strip the stalk you can see little brown tendrils which will become the roots.

Some of the information online advises rooting your pineapple stalk in water but I’ve planted mine in a pot with some free draining compost. I’ve buried the pots in the hot bed so now we just need to wait and see if they root. Here are some pictures of the process.

Less exotic than the pineapples I also got my tomato, basil and shallot seeds planted this weekend. I’ve got a few varieties of Tomato including a dwarf windowsill variety Tiny Tim, Brandywine, Black Russian and some early varieties from Europe.

The Basil I’m growing this year is a British variety which I haven’t tried before. It’s supposed to be better suited to our climate more tolerant of the British Summer weather. This year I am determined to do several sowings of Basil and get better at using it in preserving / making pesto . I did quite well with my tomatoes last year and we’re still enjoying dehydrated, frozen tomatoes and green tomato chutney.

The heated propagator is still full of my Sweet Peppers so I put the seed trays with the tomatoes and basil in the hot bed with the pineapples. I also planted some Shallot seeds. It’s the first time I’ve grown Shallots. I’ve got some in seed trays and a row of them in the raised bed in the polytunnel.

Here are all my seed trays tucked up, nice and cosy in the hot bed.


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