Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Overwintered Peppers

As temperatures dropped last autumn, I brought my favourite pepper plant and my only chilli plant indoors to see how they'd last. A friend of mine kept peppers all winter in a south-facing attic under a velux window and they did great - I only have an ordinary south-eastish-facing windowsill, but I figured it couldn't hurt to try.

The chilli did fine for about six weeks and produced a new flush of flowers, then suffered some ailment and dropped lots of its leaves as Christmas approached - but it has pulled through, put on some new growth, and given me occasional fruits throughout the winter, which has been really nice. (I had to hand-pollinate the flowers, of course - as easy as dusting the centres with a soft paintbrush.) As you can see, it's looking a bit spindly (and one-sided) from less-than-ideal light levels and the dropping of its leaves, but it's doing fine now and producing more and more flowers. If you look closely, you'll see three little chillies on its branches. Let's see how long I can keep it going...

The pepper, however - the 'Dedo de Mocha' sweet Aji type which was wonderful when it finally fruited early autumn - has not enjoyed being indoors one bit. The fruits remaining on it ripened to red in the warmth of the house, which was nice as they'd showed no sign of it outdoors, but when the days got shorter, the plant got taller and taller, reaching for light that I just couldn't provide, and the thing ended up crawling over my curtain rail, producing long spindly branches which it couldn't support, and finally getting very unhappy indeed.

Ah well; you win some, you lose some. If I had a heated greenhouse or conservatory I'm sure I'd have got much better results. I think it's certainly worth overwintering more chillies in future. But the pepper plant has gone in the compost bin now, to make way for this year's new subjects!


Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

It always worth giving things a try! I don't think most people would entertain a heated greenhouse with fuel costs being as they are - we used to heat ours years ago.

Martin and Amy said...

I agree with Sue, it's always worth trying out new things.

Those small chillies look cute and it's quite exciting that it has produced a small quantity through winter. Our plants were already on the heap come October.


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