Since I still can’t remember how to put a proper link in another Blogger’s comment section, I messed up an attempt at showing a blogging friend of mine the results of my efforts at growing a single garden plant in my seventh storey, east-facing apartment window this year. So rather than make another failing attempt at it that way, I figured it would just be easier to post a simple article, and highlight the results of my gardening endeavors.
Now there were a couple reasons why I decided to attempt only one plant. First of all, I didn’t want to try something as mundane as a carrot, or a radish, although I realize I could have grown fairly large amounts of these, and at least in the case of the radishes, I could have grown several batches over the course of the summer. But instead, I wanted to grow a plant that in itself could grow quite large before giving up its fruit/vegetable, since I felt that that would present as a separate challenge in and of itself. And then, after reading, and also being told, about how peppers in particular were quite finicky when it came to transplanting (something I estimated I would have to do at least twice throughout the development of the plant), I decided that that was plenty enough challenge for me.
Thus, my objective became simply to grow one Bell Pepper Plant to maturity, through pollination, and have said pepper plant provide for me at least 1, but preferably 2-3 good-sized Bell Peppers. I would begin the plant from the seeds of a store-bought pepper, and once the seeds were removed, the rest of the pepper would go towards the making of an omelet despite the fact that I had someone warn me that that may not work for some reason (he wasn’t worried about the omelet, just the seeds, which he thought were poisoned or something) that I have to admit sounded a lot like a conspiracy theory, so in order to be polite I nodded my head in all the right places, grunted once or twice, might even have damned the government on occasion, and then as soon as the nay-sayer had left, I fired up the grill and had a very enjoyable omelet in preparation for the launch of the grand experiment.
I’m happy to report that things went pretty much according to plan with just just one or two unexpected twists and turns along the way, all of which were pretty minor, and where it was necessary to do anything at all, the solution’s were quite simple. First of all, I ended up transplanting not just twice, but a total of 4 times. It turns out pepper plants grow quite a bit larger than I estimated. No big deal, just took me by surprise. (When you take a look at the pictures, try to keep in mind that I’ve trimmed off the largest of the leaves to try and make room for the peppers to expand comfortably, and I finally cut off the growing shoot to stop it once and for all from gaining any more height. As it is now, the plant measures 33 1/2″ above the soil level, and 21″ across at the widest point.
Another thing I forgot about is the fact that I really don’t like critters like bees and wasps, or for that matter, most flying critters, unless they’re outside where they belong. One day while I was snapping pictures it occurred to me that unless some kind of flying critter started messing around with those new flowers that were beginning to pop up here and there on my pepper plant, there was a good chance I wasn’t going to get any peppers. So I asked around about how plant breeders manage to cross-breed plants so accurately. Imagine my surprise when I found out that all that talk about the birds and the bees should have been the paint brushes and feather-dusters. Tsk, tsk, fibbing to our little ones. I just grabbed my most delicate-looking paint-brush, turned down the lights, put on a little Sarah McLachlan, and cracked open a bottle of wine. I lit a candle, I left the room, and let the little flowers do what little flowers do. Nothing! So then I came back in the room, turned on the lights, and got busy cross-pollinating that plant. It wasn’t even two weeks later, and presto, peppers.
Suffice it to say, I’ve now cut off two medium-sized peppers (hoping that the three new little ones will still have enough time this year to develop into medium or large-sized peppers themselves which would bring my harvest total for this solitary plant up to 5-6 Green Bell Peppers, and though it may not be anything dazzling, I’m going to consider it a success. Next year, who knows, maybe a pumpkin?