Sunday, 2 August 2009

Too many surveys...

I have been erstwhile distracted from the blog by the bane of postgraduate studies:

The dissertation project.

I am running an online survey on my project, which I need to have since my interviewing skills are rubbish.

I should have known this from ages ago, since my Role Playing skills are equally inept. This is a warning to all of you: If you RP and can't for the sake of you get information from the Gnome Pineapple salesman being played by your friend who knows you are awful at the game and is giving you all the help possible to help you find the +2 Enchanted Suppository of Regularity, you haven't got a prayer for getting accurate information regarding a complex regeneration scheme from Government Officials...

So ask the public what they think. You'll be surprised how refreshing and helpful they will be.

As for the chillies, well what can I say? So far so good. I've taken more photos which I've uploaded to my photobucket account:

The Nagas should be changing colour soon. I can feel it. The Chocolate Habs are doing great, as are the Orange Habs (they are just AMAZING). Pretty much the only plants disappointing me are the Fatalii twins. A lot of growth, a lot of growth, a LOT of growth.

But not pods....


The White Habanero is doing splendid, as is the Caribbean Red Hab (finally). Even the Red Savina has a pod growing!

I have FINALLY moved the Jamaican Hot and the second Paper Lantern from the glass jars to terracotta 15cm pots. I feel really bad about it, but I have decided these two shall be overwintered to provide the spearhead of the 2010 growing season.

August temperatures in Liverpool are predicted to be 14.5C on the average (yes, global warming...I can see it making a difference) AFTER the meteorology office in the UK gave a long range forecast of a heat wave for August. This is why weather forecasting is a great job. You MAKE THINGS UP! and you get paid a handsome fee to boot! I will definitely apply to be one. Stick my head out the window, or better still, my bionic leg, and say 'Hmmmm...leg is tingling. I predict rain!' and bingo-bango! Money!

I am sorely tempted to use the heat lamps from the reception to keep the plants fooled into producing more...

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Pigeons and wings...

I am going to start a petition to send to whatever 'higher authority' was in charge of giving city pigeons wings to have them taken from them.

Silly things just will not move when you walk towards them.

I know they see life in such a manner that their brain analyses our movement as we would the slow crawl of a snail, but I have had enough.

I want some other animal to get the wings if the pigeons are just going to waffle about not using them.

I want monkeys to have them.

And don't say 'Oh, come on!'

You know you want that too.

Not the higher order apes.


No...flying orang-utans. No winged Chimpanzees.

The 'lesser apes'

Flying Squirrel Monkeys!

Dive Bombing Tamarinds!


I am 'chuffed', as the locals say, with the progress of the plants. There are now 14 Chocolate Habanero pods on the plant, as well as three White Habanero pods! Weeeeeeee! There are also flowers on the Paper Lantern and Red Savina. The Chocolate Sweet Pepper is now producing more flowers, so a second harvest is under way!

I have started harvesting the Esplendors as well as the Piri-Piris, but loaded with plenty of little pods.

The Orange Habanero is packed! I know there could be more pods if I did a few more things, but I'll settle for 20 pods from it.

Heck, even the Caribbean Red Habanero, now in separate accommodation (after I liberally sprayed it to control the aphids) is carrying a pod!


Now, if only I could get the Fataliis to actually set a pod, I'd be the happiest pepper on the Internet!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Yes, it is a bit of a strange word.


The Chocolate Habaneros have FINALLY started to produce pods. I counted three today, and all indications are that there may be a few more in the works.

Not bad for a nearly four foot tall plant with about thirty flowers on it!


Yes, I am a little frustrated at times.

But other times I'm left in awe.

The 'Naga X' plant has now produced 10 pods, and is loaded with flowers, but dropping temperatures will probably stop more pods from developing, since pollen is not being released.

The Chocolate Sweet Pepper is producing a second load of flowers, no doubt a result of all the pods it carried now plucked out.

A second harvest? Might well be...

Someone has been messing around and playing games with me the past few weeks.

Simply must be.

The Orange Habanero went from being loaded with flowers and producing squat, to being loaded with flowers and now also with pods. I count about 15 so far, and if what I've read in THP about this particular Habanero is correct, it will bear loads of pods (in the hundreds). Still, I'll settle with having just enough to make a good sauce with.

The Caribbean Red Habanero, on the other hand, has been disappointing. Lots of flowers, but zilch pods. I think it may be affected by the fact that the Orange Habanero is overgrowing the CRH, which means it's cramped into a little corner.

I have just had to do something from work which just...well...this is a public forum, so in that respect I shall keep my opinions regarding work to myself. I would be very angry if I just wasn't so blinking disappointed...

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Uprooted Peppers

We have been in the services apartment for four days now, and you simply don't know the comforts of home well until you do something so simple as to say to your other half:

'can you pass me the pepper?'

and realise you don't have any because you left it in the flat you can't go to.

The meeting with the City council was reduced to a shouting match as people realised that the City of Liverpool just simply wasn't prepared to deal with this crisis.

The good news is that this is a dry run in case heaven forbid something worse were to happen. At least in this emergency neither scores of ambulances nor the coroners office needed to be contacted (though there may be dead plants soon, but I'm not sure if there is a gardening coroner's office in the city).

I have taken more photos (of the plants. The crane ones I've already posted on other mediums and I will not use the blog to show people any more of that than I have already shown through the bbc reports), but they are all uploaded into my photobucket account, but I will share a couple with you:

The Nagas

An Orange Habanero pod (getting more pods now. Hazzah!)

The Fatalii twins, now all grown up

A black Cuban Flower (have one solitary pod growing now)

Esplendor (left), the Naga X plant (centre) and the Chocolate Habanero (right). Choc Hab has produce loads of flowers, but no pods...

Well that's all for now. I need to get some shopping done. We have no cling film or little takeaway trays, and Almapaprika is working nights this weekend.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What a week!

A friend of mine looked at me on Monday and said those horrible words:

What else could go...

I stopped her short of finishing and said

'Please don't say it. Last time someone did there were dire consequences in my life.'

I am at this moment, a pepper without a plant.

I was going to post photos on Monday of the progress with the peppers, but have been sidetracked by a crane falling onto the building next to where I live:

As a result, and due to Health and Safety Concerns, Almapaprika and I (and everyone else living in the nearby building) have been 'relocated' until the crane is removed.

It meant not being able to access the flat except for a window of opportunity (9 to 5) on the Tuesday to pick up essentials before the building was closed down. The previous night we spent in a hotel the construction company that was responsible for the crane nicely booked for all the people affected. We also had to get some clothes (and undergarments) for the next day, because no one was allowed back into the complex the day the accident happened.

So we're in serviced flats at the moment.

But because in those serviced flats they charge us £6.50/hour for Internet, I'm limited to what I can do at work, and I need to move the photos from the camera to the laptop.

Prior to all of this 'kung-fu collapsing crane technique' malarkey, I had been in contact with the person who sold me the original Naga seeds. It was a good conversation (even this blog was used as an example. I had to fess up and say it was mine), but I can't send her the new photos of the 'Naga X' because I don't have access to the photos (asides from looking at them from the camera), so this will have to wait. If anything, I have an interesting looking cross.

Oh, and my ex-landlords are just a pain in the rear. But it's not just me apparently, as I found out a work colleague also had this 'company' as landlords when she was a student and thoroughly hated the experience. I'm only glad our dealings with them are done (I hope). I don't expect to be renting anything from them anytime soon.

Other than all of this hullabaloo, if I could post the photos to you, you'd see the new Orange Habanero pods (the plant has now produced around 10), as well as all the new Naga 'X' pods (there are 8 total), and the 'forest of purple' from the Esplendor. Even the white Hab. is flowering!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Not the Naga

Hmmmm... it seems life has thrown me a slight curve ball...

...or three.

The Naga Morich chilli seeds I bought online have produced a great plant and some interesting pods...

...but they aren't Nagas.

It seems Naga pods are supposed to grow pendant (hanging), whereas these pods are growing erect (standing up). Mind you, having looked at them yesterday afternoon, the look fairly 'Naga Evil'.

But they are growing upright.

I will see whether or not this is a condition of the plant in the first floor only or a condition of both the Nagas, since the one in the top floor has had some flowers open, and hopefully will germinate. If the pods grow downwards, all is gravy. If they grow upwards, I will see something is wrong.

The high temperatures this week were fantastic, because they meant more of the flowers released their pollen. The Esplendor is awash in little purple pods. The Piri Piri is also loaded with little pods.

I FINALLY GOT ORANGE HABANERO PODS! That is a relief. I was starting to think I was going to have the prettiest plant to not give and pods...

The Black Cuban is also producing some pods, which is good, and the Fataliis are also starting to produce flowers! yay!

Even the White Hab and the Paper Lantern are starting to produce little flower buds.

I need to take some more pics.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Naga, Naga, Naga....Naaaaaaaaga!

Well, the Naga Morich has finally flowered and pods have formed! Yay! Feel really good about it, and quite eager to see how they develop!

Naga Morich

Naga Morich Flower

Naga Morich

Naga Morich

Naga Morich

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Pretty in Purple

I have to admit that one of the best things I could have ever done was to move the Esplendor Chilli to the office.

At home it was fine and green, but all of the flowers were dropping, no doubt due to the lack of sunshine and temperature.

But in the office, well, what can I say? Photos really say it better than any words I could type in here:






They are just lovely.

The Naga Morich plant has just had it's first developing chilli, though I have to admit it may not be a 'pure breed'. The temperatures are still to low, so pollen is not being released from the flower. Therefore I got some pollen from a ready supplier (the Piri Piri) and hand pollinated it. Thus if a pod does develop, I shall christen it the 'Naga Piri' Chilli! (dramatic music ensues).

I am getting really frustrated with the Caribbean Red Habanero and the Orange Habanero. Both are doing fantastically well, great colour on the leaves, great size, plenty of flowers.

And all the flowers are dropping.

Without pollinating.

Very few of the flowers are releasing pollen, which is annoying. I am starting to think I might need to borrow the Piri Piri flowers for a little more 'Artificial Insemination', but that would just not be fair.

I'd have chillies, yes.

But not Orange Habs.

Not Caribbean Red Habs.

I'd have mutts!

Nothing wrong with that, to be honest, but I kind of wanted to try the real thing first.

Oh, and Andy Murray just won his match.

I'm still not a fan of his, though. I think he's too full of himself. And yes, there's nothing wrong with that, it pushes you to be better.

But my personal tennis favourite may have been a little 'odd', but he wasn't full of himself (Andre Agassi!)

Not feeling too good today. I blame it on a parent practicing her 'bad parenting skills' yesterday by leaving her really ill child (OK. She was late teens) on a sofa in the office cafe while on an open day. The poor child threw up four times while her mom went to a university accommodations meeting. I had to call the person in charge of the Open day and request a First Aider be sent to look at the poor girl.

Seriously now, if your child is doing poorly in the throws of a virulent, possibly highly contagious disease, do you leave her ALONE , oh, and in a crowded place while you go off with your other child?! Seriously now. Where are your priorities, lady?

I know it's a parenting choice here, but if I was the parenting police I'd be putting some serious points on that mom's parenting licence.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Stilton and Orange Juice: Not a Good Mix!

Just came out of a party for some co-workers who are leaving, and discovered something new today (what life should be about, really. Discovery!):

You don't put a large wedge of Stilton, or any other 'Blue Cheese' for that matter, and then glug some Orange Juice.

The taste and smell is akin to...well, regurgitating something after having eaten it some six hours earlier...

Absolutely vile. If it was used as torture on war criminals it would definitely be in violation of their human rights!

Eating some delightful carrot cake now to was away the horrible aftertaste of that mix...

Oh, and I was 'blessed' by a seagull yesterday afternoon...

Nearly six years in this lovely city, and I'd managed to avoid getting dive bombed. But I guess it's a rite of passage. I'll do the customary 'purchasing of lotto ticket' tonight and see what happens.

On the chilli front all I can say is I wish all days were like this!

Sunshine to the MAX! Good temperature.

The Esplendor is awash with beautiful purple flowers.

The Naga Morich has had most of its flowers open today (and I just measured some of the monster leaves at well over a foot in size!!).The other Naga Morich is now in full speed flower budding.

The Piri Piri is heavy with pods.

The Chocolate Habanero is having some of the flowers open.

Another of the Chocolate Sweet Peppers is ripe on the plant.

The Fatalii Twins are growing, growing, growing!

Oh, and Almapaprika ate the first of the ripe Chocolate Sweet Peppers!

She loved it. Said it was very sweet and had a good texture to it. She stuffed it with some cous-cous...and the stuffed in inside a green bell pepper:

Chocolate Sweet Pepper (Stuffed inside a Green Pepper)

This carrot cake is REALLY good...

Monday, 22 June 2009

Have presentation...will travel!

I have a presentation to finish for my studies, so I shall have to be brief in today's entry (which means I won't be able to expand on my 'Ugg Boots' dilemma, or enthrall you with the philosophical waxings on 'how WAGS are bringing back the old lady styles of...well old, and how they think it's brilliantly cool while it's actually pretty silly', and Almapaprika took a great photo at the weekend of three 'WAGS-in-training' but I digress...)

Very quick update (and I seriously need to upload the photos I've been taking):

1-One of the Ring of Fire Cayenne has finally ripened! Yahoo! Altavista! Ask Jeeves! It's all nice and red and shiny. Will make for good eating soon.

2-The second of the Chocolate Sweet Peppers is also ripening. That one goes to one of my co-workers who has been eyeing it for a while now.

3-The Piri Piri is loaded with little peppers and flowers. Not bad for a 1 foot by 1 foot plant.

4-The Esplendor now has a brilliant upright purple chilli growing from it!

5-The Chocolate Habanero had one flower open, but it dropped :-(

6-One of the Naga flowers has opened! But it too, will probably drop. Temperatures have not been high enough for pollen release for the super hots.

7-The Etna has its first chilli pod growing! The Stromboli might as well in a day or two.

8-Black Cuban and Fataliis are budding! Grooviness!

9-The second Naga (the one that was at home but was transferred to the office) is budding ferociously now)


10-The flippin' aphids are now on the Caribbean Red Habanero. FILTHY SUCROSE COWS!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Interesting uses for the mobile phone...

This is a very quick post. I am writing from my mobile phone. It is very cool, to be honest, though not something I shall be indulging in too often. My phone, you see, is not 'pudgy finger friendly', and whilst it does have a 'qwerty' keyboard, the lovely people at nokia and blackberry believe we are all in possession of skeletal digits.
Everytime I write, I feel quite aware of just how clumsy my thumbs are.
But I leave you with this morsel of conference: what is the purpose of ugg boots?!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


What a difference the office makes!

The Esplendor chilli, which at the new place was shedding flower buds fast, has just had it's second really groovy looking purple flower open up (the first one possibly germinating I have to give it another day to see).

Absolutely brilliant!

Who would have thought a place of mind-numbing work could also be used as a fantastic greenhouse! If only we could do this to all places of work, life would be so much more enjoyable...

I have coined a phrase (at least in my mind, since I haven't seen anyone else use it), so I claim it for Aji Chombo Land! (plants imaginary flag on top of idea):

Office Aphids.

We've all worked with one of these before. They are the ones that really contribute nothing useful to the overall workings of the plant, defecate all over it with sickly, sticky-sweet goo that seems to attract the sort of 'large-mandibled', irksome characters that are only interested in one thing (their behinds!), and will become very 'ungentlemanly' (or '') towards anyone that goes near them or dares point out what an utter waste of space these creatures really are, which in turn means said aphids remain in place no matter how detrimental they are to the overall cohesion of the plant. Furthermore, they create conditions which invite 'Office Spider Mites', 'Fungal infections', and all other manner of miscreants.

Yes, we've all worked with this sort at one point or another.

Which means we should all be thankful for the 'Office Ladybird'...

I have taken more photos, which I shall be uploading soon! Oh, and the Chocolate Sweet Pepper finally ripened, so it has been plucked form the plant and taken home, where it shall be stuffed with some manner of concoction and fed to Almapaprika!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Sexy Fatalii Twins

Much to my chagrin, I have recently discovered (another wonderful thing about THP forum) that posting photos of your chilli peppers online, with their flowers exposed constitutes 'pepper porn'. In that respect, I would like to apologize to any and all capsicums that may be in within view of a computer screen when their respective owner reads this blog (or any of my entries in THP) and sees images of my piri piri flowers.

I can assure you these images are purely for artistic aesthetics.

This is an image of the Fataliis I'm growing. I have decided to call the bigger one 'Fatal-a', and the smaller one 'Fatal-e', because I'm just having a silly moment... I just re-potted them into 20cm pots, because the 3cm pots they were previously in were just waaaaaaay too small (they are in a previous pic). Now I hope the leaves grow big and green, and they start producing pods. I planted them in some compost with John Innes Numero 3, which means I'll give them a week or two (or three) before using Chilli Focus, since that compost should be loaded with tasty nutrients.

Oh, and the Piri Piri is flowering even more! There is one fully grown pod on the plant, and two more starting.


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Crystal Leaves?!

One of those odd things that happens in gardening, I reckon. The Etna and Stromboli chillies (I've been told this is my own unique spelling of the word) have had a number of their leaves become covered in what I can only describe as 'crystals', which seem to be protruding from the leaves themselves.

I have asked in the hot pepper forum, but no answer yet. A quick search through google came up with a possible creation of crystals as a means of certain plants to filter out heavy metals from their water supply.

But I doubt that one.

Although if it is true, then that would mean that one of the water sources I have been using to water the plants has some amount of Peanut butter (OK. Lead. Pb. I can't even make a joke these days...), which is slightly worrisome. I might take one of the leaves to a friend of mine to see if there are traces of HM's in the leaves.

At the advise of some of the members of THP, I have decided to trim the bottom leaves of the Naga Morich and Chocolate Habenero (as well as a few other plants), to help improve the overall growth of the plant and flowers, as well as the circulation of air through them, though I did pick a crummy day to do so, as it is fairly cold.

I've also been told by a couple of them that the leaves are indeed quite large. I took some more photos of the plants now trimmed, and took photos of the largest leaves I could find after I trimmed them.

They are indeed 'Gargantuan'.

All the plants grew something fierce over the weekend (the photos below are from the 5th of June), some stretching as much as two inches!!!

I can only imagine how much more they would have grown had there been real sunshine instead of this typical English summer...

Friday, 5 June 2009

Chocolate Habanero

Chocolate Habanero 2

Chocolate Habanero Buds

Chocolate Habanero 5 June 2009


Fatalii 5 June 2009

Piri Piri Flower

Piri Piri2 5 June 2009

Piri Piri and Fatalii

Piri Piri Pepper 5 June 2009

TGIF? Not if your chillies are at work...

I dread weekends.

Don't get me wrong. I like the idea of goofing off for hours on end, just like the next pepper.

But all my plants are at work now. So that means I need to water them well enough Friday afternoon, and hope we don't get a mystery heatwave over the weekend (though in this neck of the woods that's about as likely to happen as Elvis riding the Loch Ness monster down the street in hot pursuit of Bigfoot).

I almost forgot to do a mouseketeer roll call for the chillies being grown at work:

1-Naga Morich x 2
2-Orange Habanero x 2
3-Fatalii x 2
4-Black Cuban x 2
5-White Habanero x 2
6- Esplendor x 2
7-Chocolate Habanero x 1
8-Caribbean Reb Habanero x 1
9-Rocoto Rojo x 1
10-Red Savina x 1
11-Paper Lantern x 1
12-Stromboli x 1
13-Ring of Fire Cayenne x 1
14-Etna x 1
15-Chocolate Sweet Pepper x 1

And, of course, the two butternut squash.

Fingers crossed for another weekend of them fending for themselves.

I might have some photos to upload soon! Took them today, but need access to the computer at home.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Hot Pepper

I have joined a fun forum called The Hot Pepper. I think I can get quite a bit of info there, and the people seem nice, if a little insane (but then again, I don't exactly have all the bananas in my banana split...)

I found it after whilst perusing through the

Very Funny website. I know someone who would do that sort of thing and I can video them as well, probably...muahahahahahah! (I should take it easy with the maniacal laugh...)

The exodus continues...

The only plants left at home are the two Belpicens and Etna in the large blue terracotta pot, and the four chillies 'under glass': Datil, Cumari o Passarinho, Hot Paper Lantern and Jamaican Hot. They are extremely small, yet proportionately developed.

They might be good as bonsai.

I have had to re-shuffle the pots at work. The co-workers whom (?) I gave the butternut squash to re potted them (the poor things were in 3cm pots, with leaves about 6in in diameter) to a larger planter, which meant repositioning the chillies about a bit.

I also re potted the Rocoto Rojo that was in the office into a larger pot (the one belonging to the Rocoto Rojo that had supposedly died. Turns out the blinking thing had lost all its leaves, but there was a very small leaf bud showing on the top of it. I put it in an area of the front of the building where it might have a chance to survive.) The office one was also in a 3cm pot.

For that matter, the Cayenne Ring of Fire and the Chocolate Sweet Pepper have been producing fruit whilst being planted in a 5cm pot. I'm sure I could have possibly gotten more fruit out of them in a slightly larger pot, but don't want to risk moving them right now, so there they shall have to stay.

I really need to take more pics of the plants now.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Exodus....Movement of the Chillies!

Well, it had to happen. I tapped the Esplendor lightly last night, and the unopened flower buds just fell off.

I looked at the Belpicens and more of the little flower buds had withered into pathetic black little blots.

The Naga Morich still looks fine, but nowhere near as vibrant as the one in the office.

I have decided to move the home chillies.

The Esplendor has been moved today, and is now in the office.

The Naga might follow tomorrow, but we'll see. Both the Naga and the Belpicen/Etna pots are terracotta, and weigh quite a bit, so not looking forward to lugging them uphill for 20 minutes.

But the thought of watching them simply not produce because of not ideal conditions bothers me more.

On the bright side of things, the Chocolate Habanero has started to produce flower buds! Yay!

And the annoying little aphids are still all over my blueberries!!!

Monday, 1 June 2009


I seem to have a difficult capsicum choice to make:

Do I keep all the plants at home, or bring them to the office where the sun shines brightly?

This weekend half the flower buds fell off the Belpicens, around twelve in total. It could be a combination of things, but I'm leaning to not enough sunshine. I couldn't put them outside, if the Rocoto Rojo is any proof of what will happen to them. Also, the blueberries were teeming with little leprecha...I mean aphids yesterday (I spent the better part of an hour and a litre of diluted SB plant invigorator trying to spray them off, all the time muttering at them with a horrible 'Brad Pitt does a pikey accent' voice 'Get off me blueberries, ya muckers!') which leads me to believe if I send any chilli plants out they will be swarmed by the little emerald sucrose defecators.

I've also been thoroughly impressed by the way both the Chocolate Habanero and the Naga Morich have been thriving at the office, with the Naga now showing flower buds. The Naga back at home is lagging about a week behind in growth.

This, of course, also has implications for the hydroponics. Do I keep the system at home, even though I know the sunlight requirements are better met at the office? or do I stick to growing them at home and buy a lamp to grow them on, which will add to the expense of growing the chillies?


The good news is that the Orange Habanero has just flowered, as has the Piri-Piri, which means hopefully soon there shall be CHILLIES!!!!

Why is it so difficult for people to follow simple instructions?! I know the answer is 'There is no such thing as simple instructions', but seriously now, if it's written and has arrows pointing in a particular direction, why do it the opposite way?

Friday, 29 May 2009

Mad Scientist Me...Part 2

I have purchased all of the material needed...muahahahahahah! and at a lower cost (it was £25.00 plus another £2.98 for the buckets) to make the hydroponic system. I had the hard pvc tubing at home already, so that helped a bit. In fact, I may buy another two buckets to do a dual system, since the pump can handle up to 60L, and I will only be using 10L tubs for the solution (of which probably only 4.5L will be filled). The upper tubs will be roughly 5L, which means I'll be cutting it close to grow some of the chillies, but we'll see. I'm very excited about this.

I've read on some of the chilli head forums that the system I'm using is not as fantastic as some of the other new fangled systems, but I'll give this one a try to see how it does. I will take photos of the material and the finished product during the weekend.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Disastro! Tragedia! Mascarpone!

AAAAARGH!! This is a horrible Charlie Brown moment...

I looked out the window of the new flat last night, only to discover something disastrous:

The Rocoto Rojo, as well a the Butternut Squash were dead! DEAD, JIM!

So annoyed at this! The only thing I can think of, after looking at both plants, was that it was a combination of cold weather (yes, we did have a brief cold snap last night and today, but no frost that I can recall) and high winds. The leaves on both plants were snapped and shriveled.

Keeping the rest of the chillies indoors, then...

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Mad Scientist Me... Part I

Muahahahahahahahahahah! I decided if I've got three (four) little plants in Jars, why not chose one to attempt to grow in a hydroponic system? and while I'm at it, why not make it a home grown hydroponic system?

So, armed with a little bit of knowledge that I pulled from a .pdf file from the Guide to Setting up Your Own Edible Roof Garden, I have now set about getting the materials.

I thought to myself, 'well, how much could these hydroponic systems cost?' The answer, quite the pretty penny. So step one was to see if I can purchase the materials below the cost of a system. The average 2 pot Drip Irrigation System I saw on the web was priced between £60.00 and £130. So my budget should be, for one plant should be between £30 and £65.

I will base myself on the design from the .pdf file, which is in effect, a Ventura Action Drip System.

I have so far purchased all the materials minus the buckets and the rigid pipe that goes in the middle. Cost so far: £25 (this is including delivery, as I ordered them online).

So we shall see by the end of the week if this is a 'sound investment'.

Moving Violations

Almapaprika and I have finished our move to the new flat. Her parents and younger brother were here for the weekend and helped us get everything across from one place to the other. Very grateful for all their help, since we both discovered that we have quite a collection of clutter. The new place is lovely, although there isn't a great deal of direct sunlight (well, the balcony does get direct either end of a large building immediately in front of it. And there are plans to build two equally large apartment complexes at either side, so I can kiss the sunlight goodbye in about 8 months time...), so that means I can't keep all the chillies there. I have kept some, though. I want to try and grow some chillies at home. The flowers on the Belpicens at home have finally opened! Yeeeeeehaw! Got plenty of chillies growing at the office, but none so far at home (fruits that is). So looking forward to getting some growing at the flat.

There were some unfortunate casualties in the move. The Jamaican Hot Scotch Bonnet was kind of trampled inside its own little glass jar. But the little plant and the root all seem intact, so I will try to see if I can maybe attempt a miniature hydroponic system to see what I can get from it. a New summer experiment.

But the good news came from upon my return to the office. I was amazed by how well the chillies are doing there. The Chocolate Habanero has leaves the size of my hand, and the Naga Morich is not far from that either!


The Orange Habanero and the Caribbean Red Habanero are also flowering, and quite profusely! I am really looking forward to seeing the chillies grow.

The Piri-Piri has grown so many side shoots thanks to it not being able to stand up correctly that the main stem has now created side roots. I'll be transplanting it to another pot soon, since it is also starting to show flowers.

The Black Cuban has also started to sprout vigorous side shoots.

I brought some more plants over, and have convinced the second floor offices (the ones directly above where I have the plants now) to accept some more 'guests'. I brought with me the lone White Habanero, the other Orange Habanero (the difference in height is staggering), a Red Savina Habanero, another Black Cuban, another Esplendor and one of the Paper Lanterns.

I still have not gotten the photos I took from the camera to the computer at the new flat, and with all the unpacking that needs to take place, it might be a while (grumble-grumble). But rest assured I shall get the photos up and running as soon as I can.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Movin' on up! (or in this case, down four floors)

Almapaprika and I will begin moving from our current abode to a new one this week, which means, obviously, that stress levels are going to be as high as the heat index of a Naga Morich (gratuitous chilli head joke. I'm allowed one once in a while). Good news is this time around there are less stairs involved. Though we will have to get our stuff down from the lofty heights of our place (sans the use of a lift).

This means I won't be able to post the really good photos of the 'office chillies' until then (unless I sneak away to do it in a quiet moment...fat chance of that happening). But rest assured, some of the photos, specially the flowers and chillies of the Ring of Fire Cayenne are really stunning.

The Orange Habanero has only been back here for 48 hours, and already instead of one flower there are four! Definitely helps them to have that lovely heat from the nearby radiators and the wall of glass. Hopefully there will be little Orange Habs growing in the next two weeks.

Weather forecasters are predicting a very, VERY warm summer for these latitudes. No indication of it yet (thank goodness), but it should be great for the chillies.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Falling into a Google Analytics Ring of Fire

I decided, 'Why not?'

I've added Google Analytics to the blog so I can see who, if anyone, actually likes reading this blog.

I've also applied to join the RING OF FIRE ( a fantastic webring dedicated to all things capsicum.

Mind you I know at least one person who reads it frequently (Almapaprika), so it's not entirely a lost cause. Plus I like 'immortalizing' my rants in between some serious capsicum speech.

Moved the Orange Habanero to the office today. It has one very small flower on it, so I foresee an 'explosion of chillies' if the growing conditions in the office keep up like they have so far. I will be Moving the Caribbean Red Habanero to the office tomorrow. Office chillies are doing just so much better than the home ones (and I really should stop calling them that since it's not my office, but rather a...or at work that has graciously permitted me the use of their window space to grow chillies).

The Chocolate Habanero leaves look stunning! The Naga Morich is starting to catch up to and surpass the Chockie (How utterly Scouse is that?! 'Chockie'). The Ring of Fire Cayenne is full of little chillies! Even the Piri-Piri is starting to show little flowers!


I'm probably going to bring my camera tomorrow to take some proper photos of the chillies and do them justice (my phone has been adequate, but really, now is the time for some seriously good photos!)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Kung Fu Panda

Just thought I'd post some photos of how things are going at work. I took these photos on Monday. The top photo is of the Piri-Piri Chilli. It was one of the ones grown inside the glass jars. As you can see, the plant could not support its weight when it started to grow outside. But the beautiful thing is how it's picked itself off.

And not only that, but because it has to grow 'sideways' as it were, it is now developing lovely side shoots, which means more chillies!

Second photo is of the Ring of Fire Cayenne. It has already started producing little chillies.

Most impressive.

I counted around five on it this morning.

The third photo from the top is of the Sweet Chocolate Pepper. It's about an inch and a half by an inch at the moment. It should grow quite a bit more, but I'm worried that because they've already flowered and set fruit I can't transplant them to another pot, so they will end up giving sub-par fruit.

The last photo is a Chocolate Habanero. Oh-me-oh-my, it looks lovely and BIG. Leaves are about as wide as a child's hand. And so vividly green. I can even smell the faint smell of pepper when I get close.

I just finished transplanting the triff...I mean the Butternut Squash to a 30cm pot, while Almapaprika and her mom talked about a website that does 'pepper packaging for special occasions'.


They are already talking about that.

And where the Farmers Market's going to be...

Sunday, 10 May 2009

No more essays?

Wohoo! I think I'm starting to see flower buds on the Orange Habanero! (third photo down, right hand side). It's just bizarre.

Mind you not as bizarre as the fact that, having only been planted about seven weeks ago, the butternut squash is already heavy with flower buds! (photo right above the text). They are growing like MAD!

Seriously, though. It's freaky. I either have a really green set of thumbs, or TESCO is selling irradiated squash, which will turn into vegetable superheroes and fight injustice and overcooked vegetables!

I think my neighbours think I may be growing 'funny' veg. I get strange looks from the ones who can see the butternut squash, as I do from the ones that can see the chineses... ah, well. You can technically get a 'high' from chillies, though it's more the sort of stuff only chilli heads both dream of and dread.

Ah, before I go, the second from bottom photo is that of our blueberries. That particular plant was the one with all the aphid problems. But one generous series of squirts of SB plant invigorator all over the leaves and they seem to have been remarkably under control.

But I shall tell you whether or not the product is gravy later on if it manages to keep the evil gribblies away from my blueberries.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Pressure Cooker

Photo taken this morning of the office plants. There's a little Sweet Chocolate Pepper growing on the plant nearest. Both the Sweet Chocolate Pepper and the Ring of Fire Cayenne have flowers on them. Yahoo! (not the website) Can't wait for them to grow grow GROW!
I took the two Fataliis and one of the Black Cubans to the office as well. The chineneses at the office are huge! This will do the Fataliis a world of good.

Learned a valuable lesson this growing season. While glass jars are a good place to put your seedlings in to help them grow, it is not a good idea to seal the lid tightly.

Almost all of the plants have had problems with the change in pressure when I've transplanted them to larger pots. Seems as soon as I put them outside on a regular pot, all the leaves wilt and shrivel.

But if I put them under a plastic bottle (makeshift greenhouse), they seem to recuperate.

I have found the whole thing quite fascinating, though at the same time quite frustrating.

The stems seem to have problems coping with the weight of the plants (again due to the pressurised growing conditions), which means seedlings of three-four inches in length are having to be propped up with stakes already.

Also, the seedlings seem to grow roots in mid stem (has happened to two of them), no doubt because of the high humidity/pressure. Also, some of the leaves seem to have transparent patches. I don't know if this is to do with the change in pressure, which affects the plants ability to draw water from the roots up to the leaves, creating the 'blank' patches, or if it might be an infection as a result of the change in pressure. I've taken those leaves out as a precaution.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Aphids! GRRRRR!!

Wow, it has been well over 15 days since I last posted anything. Been busy with coursework, the whole 'union' and the planning of the ceremony, swine flu, and watching the reds be taunted by the red devils as the try to clinch the championship. and I STILL have a lot of other things to do!

...but thought this might be a good breather.

From top to bottom, the photos are as follow:

1- One of the Esplendors, now big and healthy on a wooden planter I had left over from my previous foray (it was used for Strawberries). It looks really nice, and should start flowering in the next few weeks.

2- The big multi planter I got given for X-mas. I put an Etna chilli on the top and the two Belpicens on the lower tier. One of the Belpicens is already budding. Most cool! The big blue planter next to it and the plastic 'faux terra cotta' have the Naga Morich chillies. They look so healthy. I am really thrilled by them.

3 & 4- The new home of one of the Sweet Chocolate Peppers and the Cherry Chilli. The were taken to Almapaprika's parents. They were already flowering! Faboo!

5 & 6- The plants at work. Looking good!

Aaanywho, I found aphids on the blueberry plants at home :-(


The Orcs of the Garden World! (Slugs are the goblins, caterpillars are the uruk-hai)

Flippin' things were all over the little plants.

But this time I was prepared!

I bought some SB Plant Invigorator, which is supposed to both kill the little Orcs, and promote healthy grow for my 'baby ents'.

Now, if only I could hire a hobbit or two to garden the plants...

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Baby Pigeons

Wow. You go away for four days, and suddenly your plants grow enormously large and start flowering!


Well, budding, actually. The bottom photo is that of the original plants (Chocolate Sweet Pepper, Cherry Chilli, Ring of Fire Cayenne), plus one of the Habaneros I moved over from the house. And even that one is doing quite well.

This is all WITHOUT receiving any Chilli Focus! I am impressed. The top photo is that of the plants I moved recently to work. The Habaneros are growing very well. I will have to move some of the chillies soon (taking two to Almapaprika's dad), but work is a fantastic place to grow capsicums!


On a stranger note, though a happy one, I have requested Almapaprika's top green leaf (the left one, if memory serves me) in leafy union (not onion).

And she said yes.

My gardener's delight.


Oh, yes. The title to this post. Please do not take the following comment in ill. Whilst in London this week, I saw a young Chinese couple with a small child in the tube. I suddenly looked at Almapaprika and said 'I've never seen that before.' To be honest, all the Chinese parents I know are older folk (must be because I know a lot of uni student parents.), so seeing a couple that could have been in their early twenties with a small child was both refreshing AND a surprise (kind of like spotting baby pigeons in a city centre. Everyone KNOWS they exist, but how many people have seen one?)