Chillies: Crop Three!

November 28, 2012

Well it would seem that a new crop of pimientos de padron is now a weekly affair.  This afternoon Mary and I plucked 19 plump pimientos.  The chilli plants are so plentiful that we could be very selective and only take those that are large and fully developed – no little runts this time.

Here’s the now obligatory hands-shot.  And here’s a link to the previous crop for comparison.

And of course the best thing to do is to reach straight for the frying pan and get those things on the heat!

..and once they’re browned and blistered it’s time to give them a generous crack of salt and rack up the beers – for nothing goes better with pimientos than a cool ale.  This truly is the king of drinking food.

These 19 largish chillies were enough for three people to snack on or two to get indulgently piggy.

Now, I have often heard the pimiento de padron referred to as ‘the roulette chilli’ – a name it gets from its habit of one in six chillies being significantly hotter than the others . Normally these are very mild and the hot ones are far from disastrous, but certainly have a little zing to them.  I thought that this time with a decent(ish!) sample size we might keep track of how this plays out.  Well the results are that out of 19 chillies 4 were hotties, so not too far wrong.

All in all I think that a packet of pimientos de padron seeds would make an excellent gift.  Mine cost less than $10 (much of which was postage) and yielded over 30 plants.  Not only do you get the enjoyment of growing these things from seedlings into verdant, bountiful bushes but also it would seem that you get a weekly excuse to pluck a whole pan’s worth, fry them up and crack out the beers.  What could be better?


Mango update

November 22, 2012

While I was in the garden I thought I might take the opportunity to record the recent growth of the mango with a before and after shot.  On the left is the mango in March just as summer has ended; the right is November showing growth through the spring months.  It was pretty much dormant during the winter cold, but has doubled in size since the weather has been warming.

I live in constant hope that one day I’ll see it fruit, but at the moment there’s no sign of any flower buds forming.  But surely this is all good progress in the right direction!


Chillies: the good and the bad

November 22, 2012

This week saw an excellent harvest of pimientos de padron.  Unlike last fortnight’s effort these chillies are much larger.  Repotting was definitely a good move and many of my plants are looking healthy and productive.  Some are greener than others, but I’m keeping an eye on the yellowier ones to see if I can sort them out.

What’s not good, however, are the three diseased plants that I have (versus the 28 healthy ones).  These plants have unusually thick leathery leaves that have curled significantly.  They look very sickly indeed.

Having done a little search on the internet I have unearthed an absolute multitude of diseases that chillies are prone to.  If you went by what I’ve read you’d think that these plants are impossible to grow!  Everything from over-watering, under-watering, over-fertilising, under-fertilising, too much or too little sun, pests and parasites, nematodes, root-rot, virii… And it seems that everyone reports the same vague symptoms for everything.

So I’ve taken a stab in the dark and I’m going to go with some sort of parasite and gave them a spray with Confidor.  If this turns out to be the solution, I’ll let the world know.  Otherwise if someone recognises the issue feel free to chime in and leave a comment!


RaspBMC: Samsung remote key codes

November 14, 2012

In a previous post I detailed the difficulty that I have been experiencing mapping the non-standard key codes implemented by Samsung for my television remote.  In that post I showed how SSH can be used to inspect log files to see what actions are taking place in response to key presses.  While this can be very useful it is not always possible to discover all the key names in order to map them.  So the purpose of this post is to keep a running list of the keys on my remote, whether they are mappable and what their key code is (if I can discover it).  As I find new codes I’ll update the list.

First of all here’s a picture of my remote for reference.  I would seem that plenty of Samsung TV remotes for different models keep the same physical layout but just screen print different labels on the buttons.  If your remote differs from mine only in a minor way it may be worth matching your physical button up with mine and giving the respective code a go.  Certainly on my remote the key codes do not necessarily match the physical label on the button.

So working from left to right, top to bottom I will present each button in the following format: <physical label>,<behaviour>,<key code>…

POWER    tv only  --
TV/DTV   tv only  --
ON/OFF   tv only  --
1        passed   one
2        passed   two
3        passed   three
4        passed   four
5        passed   five
6        passed   six
7        passed   seven 
8        passed   eight
9        passed   nine
-/--     passed   title
0        passed   zero
PRE-CH   ??       ??
+(ch)    passed   pageplus
MUTE     tv only  --
^(vol)   tv only  --
-(ch)    passed   pageminus
SOURCE   tv only  --
v(vol)   tv only  --
GUIDE    passed   guide
MENU     tv only  --
W.LINK   tv only  --
TOOLS    tv only  --
^        passed   up
RETURN   passed   ??
<        passed   left
ENTER    passed   select
>        passed   right
INFO     tv only  --
v        passed   down
EXIT     passed   back
RED      passed   red
GREEN    passed   green
YELLOW   passed   yellow
BLUE     passed   blue
TTX/MIX  tv only  --
P.SIZE   tv only  --
DMA      tv only  --
E.MODE   tv only  --
CHLIST   passed   livetv
SUBT     tv only  --
<<(rew)  passed   reverse
PAUSE    passed   pause
>>(ffwd) passed   forward
REC      ??       ??
PLAY     passed   play
STOP     passed   stop

Fitting SKS P45 Chromoplastic mudguards

November 10, 2012

My girlfriend cycles to work every day as her sole mode of transport.  This means she rides in all weather.  Having just upgraded her old side-of-the-road frankenstein bike to a new Merida Speeder it made sense to embrace the proper commuter-bike and fit some mudguards to avoid that rainy day stripe.

I ordered in some SKS P45 Chromoplastic mudguards.  Having fitted them I think they look great and seem pretty good value for money.  But in order to actually get them on they did need modifying so I thought I’d throw up a post detailing what I did.

The problem is with the rear mudguard.  I have marked the offending piece with a red arrow in the picture above.  The front edge of the rear guard is supposed to bolt to the chainstay plate (arrow, below), but it is pretty obvious that the front derailleur completely obstructs this.

The solution is to cut the front of the rear guard shorter so that it sits above the front derailleur and to fix it to the seat tube.  First mark the place to cut with some tape across the mudguard, then follow the line of the tape with a hacksaw.  Deburr with a file.  The drill two holes on either side of the guard just above your cut.  Then attach the guard to the seat tube using cable ties through the new holes.

The beauty of these mudguards lies in their flexibility so it’s not hard to simply shorten them, flex them towards the seat tube and fix what could otherwise be a bit of head-scratcher.  And as far as a work-around goes this approach doesn’t look like an obvious botch-job.


Chillies: first crop and re-pot

November 6, 2012

Today I picked my first proper crop of pimientos de padron.  Technically this isn’t the first of my chillies that I’ve eaten – but certainly the first time that I’ve managed to pick more than one at a time.  Naturally they went into the pan, got fried and then covered in salt.  Yum!

It has been very hot and dry in Sydney over the last few weeks/month.  This, combined with the small pots that some of my chillies are in, means that my fruit have not been as large as could be expected – they dry out and shrivel quite easily.  The red ones have been on the bush too long (hoping they would get bigger), while the big green one is probably about 7cm long.  Tall plants in small pots also have a habit of getting knocked over in the wind – so the sensible solution is to re-pot a few sizes larger.

In the picture above you can see quite how small my current pots are.  Having been to the local hardware store I am appalled at quite how expensive plastic pots are – over $2 a pot for the nastiest of ‘cheap’ pots.  So I am using plastic buckets that I’ve sourced from the local supermarket.  The deli section gets its mayonnaise and cake icing delivered in them and then they get thrown out – so if you ask nicely you can get a whole bunch of them for free.  All they need is a few holes drilled around the bottom rim for drainage.

You can see from the roots that it is indeed time for larger pots.  Of course you don’t want to leave plants heavily pot-bound permanently, but letting them get a little bound certainly makes repotting easier because it holds all the soil to the roots while you knock them out of their pots.  Before long these root balls will have grown out into their new soil.

And finally a picture of the chilli grove with its new up-sized pots.  I’m always impressed how quickly chillies are appearing on each plant – but it is quite a challenge to keep them all adequately watered.  Hopefully this will help things along.