Monday, December 13, 2010

12/13 Harvest - December Peppers

Hello again everyone!  Somehow I let a whole month get away me from since my last blog post.  It was partially because my gardening has slowed down considerably due to wintry weather and partially because I've been enjoying some downtime with my family in California and with Keith in Indiana since my last work project in Texas ended.

But now I'm happy to be back.  For today's Harvest Monday, I don't have too much in the way of harvest, but I do have a wee bit of excitement to share.

Do you see what I see?  New pepper blossoms, in mid-December!  My cayenne pepper plant that I brought indoors about two and a half months ago has been not only surviving, but actually thriving, flowering and starting to make little baby peppers again.  I'm really surprised that the plant is producing new flowers even though we left most of the ripe red peppers on the plant for "looks."  I remember reading somewhere that picking ripe peppers will keep the plant from slowing or ceasing new flower/fruit production, but apparently the reverse is not necessarily true?

This is the top-ish view of the pepper plant.  It's a bit hard to see in this picture, but there are dozens of new blossoms on this plant.  Outside the window, you can see some dusting of snow from early last week (all these pictures were taken last week).  We've gotten a lot more snow this week to a point where I can barely see the raised boxes (10 inches high) outside under the snow. 

Compared to less than two months ago, this pepper plant has grown a lot more foliage to support new blossoms.  If you think that we crank up the heat in the house to greenhouse conditions - we don't.  We keep the thermostat set at between 66 F (night) and 68 F (day).  When I first brought this pepper plant in to winter indoors, I had hoped that it would hunker down and survive the indoor conditions without dying so that it could start to grow again next spring.  But this plant is still actively growing and definitely exceeding my best expectations.

Okay, one last picture before I sign off.  Oh, and in spirit of Harvest Monday, I did harvest four cayenne peppers from our growbox pepper plant (unfortnately no pictures) yesterday to use in our slow-cooker beef stew.  Whoa, we had some spicy stew!

Happy winter gardening!


Robin said...

I'm very happy to see a post from you! I was thinking about sending you an e-mail. It looks like you have one happy pepper plant!

thyme2garden said...

Thank you Robin! It's good to be back in contact! I'm getting your parsnip seeds out in the mail today. They've been sitting on the table for a week now! :)

kitsapFG said...

That pepper plant is obviously very happy with it's new location for the winter. I would pick those ripe peppers and include them in next week's harvest Monday!

Barbie said...

Bravo! It looks like your pepper plant is doing spledidly! Those should keep you warm on chilly nights.

Emily said...

Glad your cayenne is doing so well. Mine was so infested with aphids that I moved it to the basement. I hope it will go dormant there and I can bring it back up in the spring. Two other peppers remained upstairs and they are hanging on.

Tiny Gardener said...

How exciting! The only plant I brought in this year was my rosemary. Last year it died, and I am determined to not let that happen again. I know how it feels to be away from the blog for awhile. I have been out since the end of October. I feel like there is so much to catch up on!

Your pepper plant looks very happy! Good Job!

Kaytee said...

I was actually wondering a little bit ago about how your pepper plant was doing. This answers my question! I'm totally jealous. When I saw your original post about bring the plant in, and I had thought about doing that with my own. But I didn't, and now I'm really wishing I had.

Now you need to be like Gregor Mendel and hand pollinate your peppers!

michelle said...

Great job, it looks like your pepper plant is really thriving!

thyme2garden said...

kitsapFG - I would pick all the ripe peppers if I knew what to do with them all!

* * * * *
Barbie - "chilly" nights? ;-)

* * * * *
Emily - I worried about the aphids, too. So far, no trouble in that department. I have seen some teeny tiny bugs crawling around the top of the soil, but they don't seem to harm the plant. We don't have a basement, so if this plant had a bad bug problem, I'm afraid it will have to go outside to die a cold wintry death!

* * * * *
Tiny Gardener - thank you! I hope you enjoyed your blog break, but I do enjoy reading about your garden happenings!

* * * * *
Kaytee - Aw, maybe you can bring yours in next year. I just give the plant a gentle little tap on the branches every now and then, and they self-pollinate all by themselves!

* * * * *
michelle - thank you! I'm really surprised and pleased at the same time that it's doing so well so far. Hopefully this lasts throughout the winter.

Erin said...

that is amazing! How wonderful to see that in the winter!

Mary said...

Did you pot this pepper from your garden? I'm impressed. It really makes for a pretty house plant. Enjoy!

Eliza said...

Wow! That's a great success with your experiment. I know hot peppers are more likely to keep producing outdoors (even if they aren't kept well-harvested) but it's astonishing to see them doing it inside. You must have a very bright window space for them to sit in. Beautiful!

Dirt Lover said...

Oh, my gosh! Who'd have thought it would have thrived like that indoors??? So nice to see.

thyme2garden said...

Erin - thank you! It's definitely the highlight of my winter gardening experience so far.

* * * * *
Mary - the pepper plant originally grew outside in a bucket. I transplanted it into this pot and brought it inside at the end of September. It really does make for a nice house plant!

* * * * *
Eliza - this is a south-facing window, so that probably helps a great deal. But it's still so much less sunlight compared to the summer days that I really had my doubts!

~Holly~ said...

Hooray for your peppers!! I've given up on gardening until it warms up. Glad to see you've been able to continue!

Anonymous said...

It is great to read a post from you again. Welcome back!
Your pepper plant is enjoying winter. Lovely experiment and successful. Will you help it with hand pollination? There are no bees or wind, so they might need some help in that area...

Daphne said...

That's wonderful. I tend not to grow things indoors since I kill them too easily. Growing inside is really different than growing outside.

thyme2garden said...

Lori - it sure surprised me!

* * * * *
Holly - I don't have much going on outside, either, unless I have super hardy plants that can withstand single digit temps and lots of snow. So it's all about indoor gardening for me right now.

* * * * *
vrtlarica - thank you! I've been gently tapping the branches every few days. If I look carefully, I can actually see the pollen flying around when I tap the branches. Also, tiny green peppers are beginning to appear, so I must be doing something right!

* * * * *
Daphne - you're definitely right about growing being different between inside and outside. With weather like this outside, though, I'll take whatever growing I can get inside!

Annie's Granny said...

Years ago I planted some red pepper flakes, from my spice drawer, into a pot, watered it well and set it on the windowsill. It turned into one of the prettiest and easiest to grow houseplants I'd ever grown (I'm a notorious indoor plant murderer). The plant did bear many tiny red peppers, that I assume were very hot. I never had the nerve to harvest and eat them! I tried growing green bell peppers inside a couple of years ago. They grew large and lush, but the blossoms dropped and no fruit ever set on them until they were moved outside.

Tanya Boracay said...

This is my favorite plant. I always use this red pepper for add some seasoning for fish sauce or something to add some spicy in my food.

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Vegetable Garden Cook said...

On your suggestion, I brought a couple of pepper plants indoors this winter too. They were really sick looking when I brought them in, and I neglected them for about two months. Now, I've top dressed each plant with a hefty dose of vermicompost, watered them well, cut off the dead stuff, and they're starting to come back. Truly, very exciting. Wouldn't that be cool if we could just bring in our peppers, versus replanting them each year? Oh how I would love that. And, since this has been a success, I wonder if you could do this with indeterminate tomatoes. Cut off most of the vegetative growth, dig them up, and bring them in as a houseplant for a few months. Wouldn't that be interesting? I shall have to try that this year!

Jeana said...

That is so awesome! I tried to bring a pepper plant in a couple of seasons ago but I don't have any good window lighting.

foodgardenkitchen said...

That is really impressive!

thyme2garden said...

Granny - I've wondered if the red pepper flakes from the spick rack (or if any of the other seeds in the spice rack, for that matter) would grow. Now I know!

* * * * *
Vegetable Garden Cook - I'm so glad to hear that your pepper plants are doing well for you indoors. I have read that pepper plants can be grown as perennials in warm climates, so I would think you can keep doing this. Not sure about indeterminate tomatoes, though. Please let me know if you try!

* * * * *
Jeana - thank you! I think good window light is key for indoor pepper plants.

* * * * *
foodgardenkitchen - thanks!

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