Monday, February 21, 2011

Cool Hot Peppers

  It's harvest time!  OK, pretty weak but it's cool anyway.  We brought these two Santa Fe hot pepper plants inside this past October to see how they would do over the winter.  We grew them from seed that we bought from Seed Saver Exchange.  The peppers are really hot when they're raw but they cool down to almost bell pepper flavor when they're cooked.  We picked all of the peppers off when we brought them in and dried them on one of our spice drying racks. 

  We got lots of flowers after we brought the plants in but we never seemed to get any peppers.  While drinking coffee one Saturday morning and listening to our local radio garden program, we heard that if you bring a pepper plant in, you should give it a shake every once in a while to help it self-pollinate.  Voila, peppers started appearing although some are small and malformed.  I suspect that they were the victim of incomplete pollination.  We just can't compete with the bees I guess.  It's still really neat to be able to keep them going through the winter!

  Our pressure pump came in today for the water system at the homestead.  It's actually an RV replacement pump but I think it should work OK.

It's 12VDC and pumps 2.8 gpm at 45 psi.  I'm tying it in between a 250 gallon storage tank (no lift) and a 32 gallon pressure tank so I think it won't cycle on and off too much.  I'll be happy if we get a couple of years out of it.  The house sized DC pumps available through the Renewable Energy websites are 8 to 10 times more expensive.  I'd love to have one but can't justify the price right now.  I can buy a whole bunch of rebuild kits for the ShurFlo (really cheap) for that kind of money.
  I'm really enjoying the challenge of putting our off-grid systems together.  I guess everybody needs a hobby!  I wish there was more real-world info available to get ideas from.  There used to be more but it seems to be drying up.  A good example is Home Power magazine.  They used to show ultra detailed schematic type system diagrams but now leave out a lot of the particulars.  I suspect that this is either a protection from liability or the fledgling installation industry is trying to surpress this kind of information to ensure their job security.  Oh well, the experimentation is still fun, as long as I don't burn down or flood out the house!


  1. Crazy, here I am just starting to think about the new plants for this year and you are still working on last years.

  2. I know! I've heard that you can bring in peppers & tomatoes but I've never done it. Maybe one day. I just started my seedlings yesterday & you guys are still getting peppers from last year! How cool is that?

    Anyhow, I'm your newest follower, found you on HT. Come visit me at & we can all share our "adventures"!

  3. We are planning on bringing in our water, hopefully this year or next. Depends on the money situation. Presently we use our hand dug well with a pitcher pump. I appreciate you coming to my blog, Homesteading On The Internet, but my other blog, Solar Baby ( details how we put together our small, affordable off-the-grid system. Maybe that will help you in your quest for info. I research a lot for that blog.