We all know winter is coming and the weather is turning cold here in the UK, but even before the recent weather forecast ApconiX had a chilli day.
Every year we have a growing challenge to see which member of the team can grow the biggest plant from seed. Last year’s challenge was a peanut plant and most of us couldn’t get a plant to germinate, although the birds definitely had enough food for that winter.
This year the challenge was to grow the biggest chilli plant. We also had a prize for the biggest single chilli and the highest yielding plant. The team each got two seeds just before lock down and has been happily germinating, nurturing, and encouraging their plants ever since.
Everyone felt justifiably good about their chilli plants as they arrived on the Zoom meeting (although one or two died or failed to germinate). Then Dr Russell Huby presented his. And yes, it was impressive. Actually both were impressive! No prize but a chance to bask in chilli glory and the ultimate power of deciding next year’s challenging plant. Hopefully next year we get to compare plants in person rather than on Zoom.
Russell, our chilli champion commented, “It was great to win when the competition was so hot!”, adding “Next year’s challenge is to grow the tallest Chandelier plant. Very easy to grow, but they do like plenty of heat and light, so best indoors for UK competitors. Anyone with a hydroponic setup could do well. Plantlets will be winging their way to willing competitors in the coming weeks. Bonus points for plants that stand unaided, and for any that flower”. The Chandelier plant is poisonous, so quite appropriate for a team of expert toxicologists!
The team didn’t only grow plants during lockdown. Dr Kimberly Rockley learned how to crochet and has already started an animal menagerie with a monkey and a cat and a whale. And a dog is coming to life as you read this!