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...