It looks like the fertilisation that I did earlier in the season has worked. My growing Chilli plants are beginning fruit set. I have no fewer than twenty plants that are now in bloom. Fifteen plants have already produced Chillies. My Numex, Basket of fire, Barak, Satan’s kiss, Thai Demon , Longhorn F1 plants all have fruit. The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T , Aji Limone and Scotch bonnets that I overwintered from last season also have Chillies. My overwintered Bolivian rainbows only have flowers at this stage . I expect Chillies to start appearing soon. The only stragglers are the Orange Habanero , Purple Tiger (Variagata), Prairie Fire and Peri Peri plants.
While the lack of sunshine this season has had its impact, it looks like this could be a reasonable season after all. Here’re crossing fingers !
Countdown to ripening Chillies
One of the problems with growing Chillies in the UK is that we have a very short growing season. This year I started a month later than usual . I won’t be making same mistake again next year. That extra month seems to make all the difference. While I will probably get a reasonable harvest this year, it could have been better with more time .
The season will start coming to an end in our part of the country in about ten to twelve weeks . The end of the season, in my opinion, coincides with the first frost date. At that time, I would want the majority of my Chillies to have ripened. If there hadn’t been a lot of sunshine, I could possibly have an over-abundance ofunripened Chillies. That would not be good at all. You can use some green Chillies to make pickles and curries. There is, however, a limit to how they can be used up. It’s far better to have lots of ripe fruit to make hot sauces , relishes, and Chilli jams and chutneys.
To extend the season slightly, I have erected a couple of tomato grow houses/tents. In essence a tomato grow house is a tall aluminium frame that is covered by a woven polyethylene cover. It does not have shelves and has a zipped panel door that can be rolled up to gain access . These are inexpensive, self-assembled greenhouses are specifically designed to house tomatoes ( but are great for tall Chilli plants as well).
I will use these greenhouses to protect ( with the help of heaters) my larger plants from the cold . To prevent the plants from becoming damaged by frost I will place the plants in the grow houses around mid-October. I will also take the ornamentals ( Thai demons, Priari Fires and Purple Tiger) indoors . The remaining plants will be taken into my mini greenhouse. It too will be warmed with a heater. In this way, I can extend the season for a couple of weeks.This extra time helps when you need to get your Chillies ripe.
In the meantime, I will ensure that they continue to get the correct fertilisation to promote fruit set. I will also make sure that they are protected against pests like snails and slugs. The weeds will also need to be kept at bay. It is not a particularly busy time of the season. It’s more of a time when you can enjoy watching your plants grow and develop fruit. It’s a really nice part of the year in Chilli growing.