It’s an exciting time in our household! We have babies! Jalapeño babies, that is.
Here is our primary Jalapeño plant; we have two plants but this guy here is definitely the largest. He is 15″ (40cm) tall from base to highest leaf. Typically Jalapeño plants will grow to be about twice that height, so my little guy is only a teenager. The plant is often called an annual, however if kept in ideal temperatures (not exposed to frost) they will keep growing and producing.
Over the last couple weeks our Jalapeño plants have been flowering. Since we are growing indoors with no bees or insects to pollinate, I have to do it myself. An old toothbrush head on the electric toothbrush really helps save the day; the vibration is just enough to get the pollen shaking loose.
As the flower gets older, it starts to wilt. But its what emerges from beneath the aged flower petals that’s the most exciting part:
I aided this guy by very gently removing the old petals; only a couple petals were left attached, and the fruit was mostly visible. You can see some of the left over pollen on the fruit. Each fruit appears to be about 1.5-2cm in size (0.5″ give or take).
We have multiple fruit starting to appear. I count four peppers so far, with several older flowers that are beginning to bulge. I don’t want to go disturbing the flowers yet in case I break them off, or ruin the chance for them to bear fruit.
I think my San Marzano tomatoes are one of our most highly anticipated crops, and also probably the most difficult to grow so far. Last time I posted I mentioned how they had just started flowering, and fruit was beginning to develop, as well as how we were fighting an edema issue.
The tomato bushes are now massive – actual bushes. I cant even get a proper photo of the entire plant in my grow room; the camera doesn’t have a wide enough lens.
Can you believe that I cut off a whole armload of branches off this plant every couple days?! Its insane just how fast they grow new leaves.
Fighting Blossom Drop
The tomato is still flowering, a lot. The biggest issue is I have blossom drop. There are a couple reasons for blossom drop such as incorrect temperature and humidity, or that they are not pollinating correctly.
I have checked my temperature, and the grow room is sitting in the ideal range. So I suspect that perhaps the flowers aren’t pollinating as well. I did get sick and stop using the electric toothbrush method as often, so in the future I am going to be a bit more precise in application – vibrate those leaves until you can see the pollen dust emerging from the flower heads.
In the last post we had the subtle-hints of fruit emerging. Well it’s safe to say that they have emerged!
We have about 14 tomatoes growing so far. Not as many as I had hoped for, but as mentioned above we had an issue with blossom drop. There are plenty of flowers on the plant with many more emerging regularly, so hopefully we will be getting more fruit over the coming weeks.
I have a lot of greenery growing, but not enough fruit… yet. Two weeks ago I planted some Strawberry seeds; the Temptation variety. I mean… I’m very tempted to eat strawberries… (bad joke, I know).
They don’t look like much, but these seeds are currently a 7 week effort to get growing!
A while back I learnt that some seeds won’t germinate at warmer temperatures, and in fact need to experience freezing temperatures in order to leave dormancy. You can mimic these temperatures by storing your seeds in the fridge. This process is called stratifying. So for the last month I have had a variety of strawberry seeds just chilling away in the fridge, literally.
To see the seeds actually germinating is really quite rewarding. I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t be able to grow any. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how these grow over the coming weeks.
Opps. The last time I shared an update on the Jalapeños was when they were four weeks old. I didn’t realise time was going by so fast and somehow I didn’t remember to write an update.
Well guess what: it flowered!
The very first flower opened today in fact. It’s so dainty looking; a stark contrast to the hot and spicy fruit that it’s going to produce.
There are plenty of other flowers growing on each of the branches, most at that point of about-to-open. Give them a day or two and the whole plant will be flowering, and in need of pollination. Domestic varieties of Jalapeños are self-pollinating, but they benefit from the electric toothbrush method.
I’m surprised at how small the plants are to be honest. They can grow to be 30in (or 76cm) tall, yet my plants are both around only half that.
My husband is very excited about the jalapeños growing, and his excitement is catching; I am looking forward to making some yummy meals like Jalapeño poppers!
Two weeks ago I planted some Strawberry Spinach in my Kratky hydroponic buckets. I didn’t do a week 1 update as I had guests at the time and was too busy, and they didn’t look like much (most germinated seeds look the same at one week old). Well now its been two weeks, so I thought I should show an update.
Unlike many of my other plants, I have noticed that the leaves appear much more yellow. I don’t know if this is a growth issue or that this species just has yellow leaves.
I am rather excited about this plant. I seem to be generating quite a lot of edible greenery, but I still lack fruit. Strawberry Spinach is meant to be that perfect compromise; the leaves taste like spinach whilst the berries they produce are reminiscent of strawberries. Sounds perfect, right?
According to my notes the strawberry spinach will take 6-9 weeks before they are ready to harvest (hopefully with berries). Fingers crossed! If they work out well, they may become a regular plant in our grow room.
It’s hard to believe that its been a whole month since I first planted the Jalapeño seeds into the rockwool.
Last week (photo below) we saw the Jalapeño forming much larger leaves and thickened stems:
So how have the jalapeñoes grown over rthe last week?
They have gone through that initial growth spurt that I have come to expect from most plants once their first leaves start growing. The plants have grown larger leaves, and what were once small leaves are now quite a decent size. They have also started growing new small leaves – will these be big next week?
One big change is that we have gone from 5 pepper plants to one! No they didn’t die. Jalapeño plants are quite a lot bigger than lettuces, and I want to make sure that they have enough space to grow. So I have removed all but one pepper plant from the bucket.
I did wait a tad bit too long to transplant them, but here they are getting ready to be moved outdoors. We have a family friend with a garden that’s ready for “winter” crops – most of the year in Kuwait is too hot to really grown plants, we tend to grow during “winter”.
Did you see that little sad looking Jalapeño at the front right in the photo? That’s what happens when a couple of the plants grow faster than others in Kratky; some plant roots start sucking up water before all plants have necessarily put out their roots, dropping the water level in the bucket. I should have maintained the water level with slight top-ups. Whilst the plant does have some green leaves on it, most fell off with the slightest of touches. I have given it plenty of water, but chances are that one seedling will die.
We still have 3 other plants, plus one growing in my Aerogarden Bounty. I hope we get a good harvest of peppers out of all these plants.