Tuesday, 23 October 2012

End of season growing chillies

So it is the end of season hé. Now all chili growers go in Hibernation or depressed. The last fruits are staying green and will slowly go bad on the plants, while the plants wait for frost to bring their poor lives to their sorry end.
Nothing is more wrong. For the last 6 months we had to stick to our choices, and had to wait if the result was good, and the tastes on top. So the brains started working harder and harder, opinions changed about chillies. Colleague growers are asked for opinions, even fruits are exchanged between them and new ideas have formed.

The last fruits are picked if the plants are out in the open, even the green ones. Greenhouses and polytunnels are given a bit of extra heat with paraffin heaters. And plants can be stressed to ripen off earlier. Now this I did get a load of questions about.


If all chillies look fully grown but won't change colour, pick a few. The plant will get stressed to ripen off the others. ( That is why peppers are sold green, not to waste them like garbage )
Give the plant far less water, the plant will get stressed to . . . . Cut a few branches off, the plant will get. . . Put the green fruits in a basket or a sack with banana’s and they will ripen off very fast due to the ethylene given off by the banana’s.

The plant has a hormone system, that is set to grow, to flower and to ripen. If a plant is loosing green peppers, or water, the plant will start to hurry to produce seeds. So, if the chillies are getting ripened, pick em as soon as they are having colour. If all chillies are picked the plant goes into grow mode again

Can you over-winter plants? What to do with unripe fruits, when do I start seeding etc etc.
Well yes, you can over-winter plants in 2 ways. You can cut them back to the bear branches, get the soil out of the roots and prune the roots then replant them in pots with new soil to keep. If you keep them cool and a little moist they will hardly grow, but will not die. You can re-pot the plants prune the roots a bit and put them under artificial lights like LED panels or fluorescent tubes and give them 14 hours of light a day. You can even get the plants to grow well in a windowsill, and if it is at the sunny side of the house you will not have to give extra light. But do not leave ripe chillies in the plant or it will die.
Really, I had a plant from Korea here that gave 80 fruits the first summer, and I put it in the windowsill. In January it started to flower like mad, put water in a pot on the convector and it did not drop a flower. In February I rinsed the soil out of the roots, cut some old roots and gave it new soil. In April I had the first fruits and stopped counting at 200.

If you don’t over-winter your plants, you can cut off the branches that carry fruit and hang them upside down, or you can uproot it, and hang it upside down in a warm and light room, plant goes into survival mode and force ripens the chilies. You can even make cuttings to grow for next year, or seeds from the last fruits and seed them. A seed from a fresh fruit will grow very very fast.

For me now my head is buzzing, what am I going to grow next year? How can I help you to grow the best and tastiest chillies. How I do go about things writing. What recipes to make with the last chillies or the frozen ones later. I still have to taste about some 40 chillies and describe them, I am soo glad winter is coming. Get the time to write, and prepare myself and you for the next season, and get some great chillies !!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer


  1. you shud write a post on how to take cuttings from plants and how to dry out your own chile seeds for next year. as well as how to sow and germinate your chile seeds. watering plants is one thing many new growers struggle with and often can be the root of some problems. you should write an article on how to water plants or how not to overwater plants. sounds silly but take it from me i know it is a question many people ask and search for on goooooogle ;-)

  2. Thank you Iggy!

    Readers, give us a tweet, a link, a google + or share at facebook!
    More replies and more readers make it soo much nicer to be writing and read !

    Cheers Bart