Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Our area in upstate New York is in the process of recovering from a severe ice storm. Everything was coated with an inch of ice, and hundreds of thousands of homes were without power for several days. As of today, there are still tens of thousands without power. One night the temperature was at four degrees, and it was not fun at all. The hotels were filled, and there were no generators, batteries, propane, or kerosene heaters to be found for sale anywhere in the area. We were without power for four days, however, I am fortunate enough to own a generator. Well, we have been through this any number of times over the years, so be prepared is a good motto to keep in mind.

As I was using the generator for the basic necessities of life, I gave no thought to the plants in the basement. Now that our power has been restored, thank God, I checked on the plants. To my amazement, they not only survived, they seem to have continued to grow. The plants in the photo have had no light for more than four days!

The large plant on the left is an ornamental pepper I have been growing since September. When we were first married, 42 years ago, we bought an ornamental pepper as the first plant for our apartment. It was dead in about two days. Over the years we tried several more times to grow them, with the same result. At that time, neither my wife or I knew how to grow anything. Since then, we have progressed to bonsai, orchids, and pretty much any other type of plant. In September while on vacation in Maine, my wife saw me walking toward the ornamental peppers in a supermarket and she said: "You are not going to buy another on of them are you?"

I had noticed that several of the peppers had fallen off the plants and were on the floor. So, in the interest of preventing anyone from slipping on them, I picked up a few. When we returned home I started two seeds and selected the strongest looking sprout to grow in the ebb and flow systems. Now, it is covered with flowers, and is about half again as large as the plants the market had for sale. Once again hydroponics has worked its wonders.

My original intention was to see if peppers were indeed self pollinating, as I have seeds for gigantic peppers to grow in the greenhouse next season. However, it was fulfilling to finally succeed in growing one of these plants.

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