Saturday, December 10, 2005

Green fingers

In between Bitola and Ochrid one finds the village of Bucovo. Bucovo is famous for its pepper mills. Back in October 2003, on my way back to Thessaloniki and somewhere outside Kavadarci we stopped by the side of the road and purchased some of the local produce - a huge bag of milled bucovo pepper and two meters of dried peppers on a string.

The Bucovo milled pepper is still being used slowly and little by little. Some of those two meters of peppers on a string were used but at some point all that remained had become so grimy from sitting around in the kitchen and the time had come to throw them.

Rather than let them go without a fight, I took some seeds from the dried peppers and put them in cotton wool in a yoghurt pot. I did this at the beginning of September, knowing this is the wrong season but fully prepared to move any plants indoors during the winter for their protection. Within a few weeks there was a forest of sprouts in the yoghurt pot and I moved the whole cotton plus shoots assemblage into a proper flower pot with soil. This happened a few days before the accident which incapacitated me.

Every other day or so, Korinna would bring in the plants for me to have a look at them. They were growing, all stuck together in a clump the poor things and I was bedridden and couldn't transplant them. Out of the large number of seeds which I soaked in the cotton, it feels as if they all germinated - or that the non-germinators were w very small percentage of the total.

Time passed and one thing led to another - I still had not transplanted the shoots which were now at the stage of development where they want to get a second pair of leaves out. Some of them still had the seed sticking together the original pair of leaves - which was interesting.

Last week (weekend 3-4 December) I brought some flower pots and soil home from the place near work. First step was to remove the shoots from their flower pot and separate them without tearing the root systems of individual shoots to the extent that this was possible. Next I planted about four or five of the strongest shoots into each of the four flower pots I had bought and patted them in. Next, seeing as there were about that many shoots left again, I put about ten each into the flower pot currently housing the avocado and the olive tree. Obviously the ones in the avocado and olive tree pots will not be brought in if the winter gets too cold for them.

They have been out of their original pot for a whole week now and seem to be thriving. Fingers crossed for some nice and spicy food come the spring!

Here they are, one week on… the top photo is the same shot as the double pot in the earlier shot. The other two are the guy in the avocado pot and the olive pot respectively.

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