Grow lights work well
Last year September because I was experiencing a problem with getting my Chillies ripe in time for the end of the season I placed them under grow lights to see whether this would speed up ripening . After two weeks, I was delighted to advise it had worked. The two plants I had under the lights started to ripen. Two other plants of the same variety that I had kept outside showed no signs of doing the same. This convinced me that ripening under grow lights works. Here is what happened.
When I brought a Barak and (then identified) Apache F1 Chilli plant indoors and placed them under grow lights it was very much an experiment. I had no ideas that placing them under grow lights would work It certainly did. The Barak Chilli plant had two pods that changed colour. One pod had changed from yellow to orange, the other was almost red. Some of the other pods on the plant also showed signs of ripening.
The Apache F1, although only having one Chilli that had turned red had demonstrated that it too was on its way. I’m was sure the rest of the fruit on these plants follow suit, which in due course they did
At the time it was not all doom and gloom outside. Some of the Chillies on my bigger plants were also showing signs of colour change . My Longhorn F1s were showing signs of ripening. I could see a colour change right at the top of their pods. On my Trinidad Butch Taylor, I had a couple Chillies that have turned yellow/brown. Similarly, I had seen signs of ripening on one of the Scotch bonnets that I had overwintered.
While it was encouraging to see the start of ripening on the plants outside, I was still concerned about many of my other plants. The Satan’s Kiss, for example, had a lot of fruit, but still showed no signs of getting ripe. The same went for my Bolivian Rainbows and White Wax Chilli plant.
The final countdown
The season was ending
We still had six weeks until the season was over, but it still seemed as if I had cut things a bit fine this. The fact that I started later than usual, combined with a lack of sunshine, had definitely impacted the results I was getting.
To capitalise on my grow light ripening discovery, I decided I would bringing in many of my smaller plants to ripen inside. As far as the bigger plants were concerned, I did not have that luxury. They were too big to place under grown lights. With them, I am just had hold on tight. They were kept in the open until the end of the season From there, I moved them into the heated grow houses mentioned previously. These plants survived in these houses until mid-December, but after that they started dying before getting fully ripe. It was such a pity !
Bringing my Chillies indoors and placing them under grow lights is something that I have repeated this year as I face the the same problem. While I was proactive in planting my seeds earlier, I have still not been able to get all my Chillies ripe before the end of the season. Don’t get wrong. Its not that I have already harvested a fair amount, its just that some still have a while to go.
One thing I am happy about though is this year I invested in more grow lights. This means that not only can I plant more seeds early next year , but it also means that I have more space to ripen my Chillies. This year there will be no need to place my plants in heated grow tents the way I did last year. They are now safely indoors in my garage and are ripening nicely under the lights. I expect to be able to harvest a great many more than I managed to last year, which in turn will mean more Chilli sauces, jams, chutneys, relishes and Chillies. I am looking forward to making them.