Saturday, December 29, 2007

Indoor Pepper

I grew my first sweet pepper from seed: indoors and under lights.  It wasn't the most successful project, because the plants got too tall and started to grow into the fluorescent lights.  Oh well. This tiny sweet red pepper tasted great, something like sweet green grapes.  The variety was "Top Girl".  I have no idea why I picked this pepper in particular.  If there were really short versions of pepper plants, I'd have chosen those.  
"Top Girl" sweet red pepper

Outside of the basement, the phalaenopsis orchid is re-blooming nicely.  There are many buds yet to open.  

I notice that my paphiopedilum is also going to bloom again.  My own blog reminds me of its last bloom in March, 2007.  Several types of orchids seem to prefer to bloom in winter.  Their blooms, and occasionally their scents, are a nice contrast to the cold white winter outside.  Mine grow just inside my living room window, with no special care other than the usual watering and occasional orchid fertilizer.  I take some care to prevent them getting direct sun and sunburns, though.    

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Micro Tom Tomatoes

It's December and I just ate my first indoor tomato. Just because it's December, I'll say it tasted great! I should have just started about a dozen of these tiny tomato plants, because they are the only ones that I haven't had to compost because they grew too large.
I bought the seeds online and it took about 3 months to go from seedling to fruiting plant. They truly are small, and the tomatoes are like small cherry tomatoes. If I had a bunch of plants, I might have had enough to make a salad. As it is, it's just fun to enjoy the novelty of tiny tomato plants in the basement. I'll save some seeds from one of these tomatoes so I can grow these again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Orchid and Paperwhite Blooms

The houseplants are putting on a show now and the Phalenopsis (orchid) should be in full bloom for Christmas. The orchid has taken two years to re-bloom. It has a main flower spike with two small spikes branching off the main one. All have several buds on them. I bought an support stake for the flower spike from Lee Valley tools. I hope it comes soon and works well for this plant.

Here is the first bud open on Phal. Brother Mirage "Brother". This is a non-fragrant type of orchid, but the pretty flowers are enough to bring it great admiration.

Here is my collection of houseplants, huddled together in front of my big livingroom window. The paperwhites are in bloom on the left and the orchid and African violet are blooming on the right. I have three other orchids on the same table (which are not blooming anytime soon). I have decided that the paperwhites STINK. Yes, they are advertised as fragrant, but it is not a fragrance which I have any appreciation for. Anybody else agree with me here?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Snowdog on a Walk

Kona and I went on a walk today. I just had to share some pictures, since the sun is so bright and cheery. Imagine the snow crunching crisply under foot while doggy finds treasures in the snow.

Following some rodent tracks on the frozen marsh:

"I smelled a shrew...I'm sure I smelled a shrew..."

On the lookout:

Christmas decorations on our house!

Paperwhites too soon

The thermometer read -23 degrees C this morning. Not bad. It's clear and sunny and RLM is out in the shed, spending quality time with the snowmobile for the first time this season. Snowmobilers and floatplanes (on skis) are now using the lake to get around.

I bought paperwhite bulbs last month and followed the instructions to pot them up 6 weeks before Christmas. It seems that mine will be done before then. Oh well. I still have an orchid preparing to make a big show for Christmas.

Here are some pretty frost patterns on our window yesterday afternoon. While the patterns are pretty, the significant condensation and mildew in the wooden frames around the windows are why we are going to replace these windows soon.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Vegetables at northern grocery stores

It's a good thing that resident-lawnmower-man doesn't read this blog, for he would be sure to get worked up about this next story.

I stopped in at the main local grocery store for some potting soil. Of course, I left with a bag full of various items. No, five bags full. Anyhow, I spotted some Belgian endive in my wanderings. I read about this vegetable in a cookbook last night. They recommended cutting it lengthwise and dipping it in a nice herbed dip. I'd never had this before, so I picked some up. Out of interest, I also checked out how much the red peppers were selling for this week: $4.49/lb. I think they even get more expensive later on in the season. I scanned around to see if this was the most expensive vegetable there. No, it wasn't. Belgian endive was the most costly at $4.99/lb. It was tied with strawberries.

I told RLM to buy a red pepper a few days ago and I made a nice couscous and vegetable salad out of it. He told me it better be worth it for the price he paid. Well, I told him that he really should appreciate the Belgian endive with spinach dip for lunch today. I didn't tell him how much I paid for it, but I thought it tasted nice (and besides, endive is rather light compared to heavy items like strawberries and therefore kind-of a bargain when bought by the pound, right?). I may even buy Belgian endive again, that is, until RLM figures out I'm buying the most expensive item in the vegetable section...