Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chilli Plants Goes Chop Chop!

Tall and lanky chilli plant, it is not doing good at all. 

There are however, lots of chillies, but they are not turning red like they are supposed to, not like the last few months when I have gorgeous red chillies to harvest daily.

Most of them are rotting and wilting instead of turning red, eventually they will dropped off.  And all thanks to the mealybugs! They are killing the chilli plants, sucking the life out of the plants. 

Mealybugs...found them under the leaves of the chilli plant, and the whole plant is infested. I really hate these little creatures. Mealybugs can cause severe damage to plants by sucking the juice from the plants, and eventually the leaves will turn to yellow and drop off. The fruits and flower buds will prematurely dropped off too, and that was exactly what happened with my two chilli plants. The leaves dropped off with the slightest touch. Same thing with the chillies, obviously the plants are getting weaker.

I have done all the necessary, used the organic neem spray and other organic sprays. I sourced from the internet on ways to get rid of these insects, and even made my own sprays, none of it work! I have even resorted to clean the leaves, manually with water, it works for a while, but I got tired of cleaning the leaves one by one, it is a tedious and time consuming job. 

I can actually see them flying around in my garden when I was watering the plants, and have spotted them at my tomato plant, which I quickly wiped them off from my precious tomato plant!

The best thing to do is to cut off the chilli plants, making sure the stems that are left behind, are free of these bugs and hopefully the plants will thrive again, though I have not made up my mind whether to rid of these plants entirely. Most likely, I would get rid of them and use the pot for other plants. For the meantime, I have given these plants another round of neem spray, and I'll leave them as they are until I decide what to do. 


The last of the chillies! Now I got to buy my daily dose of chillies from the market!

Happy Gardening !

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Habanero Chilli Peppers (Scotch Bonnet Variety?)

Have you seen or eaten Habanero Chilli Peppers before? My first encounter with Habanero Peppers was more than a decade ago when I was at Cameron  Highlands for a holiday with the family. I was at the farmers' market and was pretty excited when I spotted a few stalls selling these chilli peppers, as I was looking for it for quite a while, and have not seen it being sold anywhere. I bought 2 peppers, and tried to grow these peppers from the seeds, which unfortunately, I failed miserably! The seedlings all died.

A couple of  months ago, when I was at a nursery, I saw these Habanero Chilli Plants, and immediately bought one home. I was wondering about the variety of these Habanero Chilli, and the seller could not provide any help at all, as she does not know that these are called Habanero and only known it as Chilli Plant!

Habanero Peppers are among the hottest chilli peppers in the world. It was once listed as the hottest pepper in the world in The Guinness Book of World Records, back in 1999, and since then has been displaced by a number of other peppers. To view the latest "Top 10 World's Hottest Peppers", refer to the link here.

There are many different types and varieties of Habanero Peppers, ranging from long shaped to round, oval and bell-shaped. And different colours too, from orange, red, yellow, dark brown and white.

It has been growing well, and there's lot of new flowers popping at the stems all over.

The green young chillies will turn to red when ripe. I did a search from the internet to find out the variety of the one that I bought, and the closest that I can find is, these are similar to the Scotch Bonnet Peppers . These peppers are extremely hot, and is a member of the Habanero Peppers, has a scale of 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Units. Just to compare, our local red bird's eye chillies has a scale of 50,000 to 100,00 Scoville units. 

Some of the new flowers. It's a wonder that these dainty flowers would turn into "powerhouse" peppers!

More flower buds forming.

Are these Scotch Bonnet Peppers? Does anyone know? Harvested these and planning to make some hot chilli sauce with it. 
These chillis are really cute!

Cute but "deadly"!  

I am a chilli lover, I would eat about 3-5 red birds eye chillies almost daily with my meals, but not these Peppers! I chopped one of these and mix with my usual condiment of soy sauce and squeeze of lime, and I could not even finish half of it! These are REALLY SUPER HOT!!! Definitely not for the faint hearted. On the next day, I chopped half a pepper and I could not finish it too! So from the next day, I chopped only a quarter. So one chilli pepper can last me four days! And got to be careful when handling these peppers with your bare hands, the hotness can sting your hands for hours. A word of caution, do not touch any part of your body with your hands if they are burning hot from the Habaneros! Especially your eyes!!! So to be on the save side, wear a pair of gloves, especially when you have to take care of young kids at home.

Left the first two chillies to dry, for the seeds.
I'll be sowing these seeds and hopefully this time, I'll see some success.

Happy Gardening !

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bitter Gourd

Bitter Gourd is one of my favourite veggie. I love it when braised with chicken or meat. Sometimes I use it for omelette, and it is delicious when stuffed with fish paste and deep-fried. There are lots of other ways of using Bitter Gourd, like in soups, stir-fries and it can also be juiced, for it's health benefits. You may read all about the benefits of bitter gourd, there are tons of information from the internet.

Several months ago, when I bought a Bitter Gourd from the market, I simply sowed some seeds into a container at my back yard, and in a matter of days, the seeds have sprouted into small seedlings. From there, it took about almost 2 months for the plant to flower. I pollinated the female flowers myself, since there are no bees around, and just a small number of ants.

After harvesting a few of these melons,the plant is now showing signs of  "I'm done!" Got to start over, but have not make up my mind whether to grow bitter gourd again or some other vine veggies that are just waiting in queue. Times like this, I wish for a big gardening area!

I'm sharing this post with Garden Tuesday @ Sidewalk Shoes

Happy Gardening!