Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Chilli-ng Tale

Probably about two years ago, Andy planted some cayenne seeds. Chillis are supposedly one of the plants that grow so easily, they sprout up from bird poop. But in the past, we've had trouble growing them. They would flower when the plants were tiny, then drop all their leaves after the fruit had set. With this plant, our problems seemed in the past.

It grew tall and vigorous in a pot in our front garden. It had loads of flowers, but they never set. And it had those white fluffy bugs, no matter how much we sprayed with soapy- oily-water.

This year, we googled to try to diagnose the problems, and decided that a lack of pollination was the likely culprit - damn lazy bees! - so I spent a few early mornings in the driveway with a cotton bud, hoping that none of the neighbours came out, as I wiggled around in the flowers, hoping to complete the pollination process and get some chillis.
Check out the trunk on this plant

My efforts were met with success when I saw a flower with a fat base, and watched for a few days as it showed decisive signs of becoming a chilli. But then it fell off, and my hopes were dashed. I completely gave up on the chilli.

Then a few weeks later, I noticed a dark green spear that didn't quite match the rest of the leaves. And then I noticed 4 more.

Chillis! I don't know if it was my efforts, or just chance, but we had finally achieved success with this plant.
Nacho paws in the background

But sadly, this is where the chilli's tale ends. Last week Townsville had a tornado, and although we were unaffected at my house, the wind did tip over the poor, top-heavy chilli plant.

So we picked off the fruit and put them into Mexican and curries.
Rice and beans

We could try to rehabilitate the chilli. But, Andy and I are buying a house! The contract goes unconditional tomorrow, and we move in April. So, unfortunately, this chilli plant won't make the move with us.


Cindy said...

Your own chillis! YOUR OWN HOUSE! Congratulations on both counts.

Mel said...

Congratulations on the house purchase, it's so exciting to have your own place! Good luck with the move, that part is never much fun.

I had a similar problem with pollination when growing eggplant a few years ago. The flowers kept dropping off but after I googled the problem and assisted with the pollination, some eggplant grew.

Kari said...

Congratulations on the house!! That is so exciting. And such a quick settlement / move! I'm sure you can start up with some new chillis there, now you've mastered the pollination process (I'm going to attribute your chillis to that ;) ). It will be great to hear how you settle in and I'm sure you'll have fun being in your own place.

Hannah said...

Oh Theresa, I'm so thrilled! Your own place! Funnily enough, I've never been that focused on buying a place, right up until last month when my desire for a puppy became almost intolerable and now I dream of one day owning a house, purely so I can own a puppy. And then maybe chillis. :P

Emma said...

Yay!!! for everything. Except the Tornado.