First flowers of the season

Blooming good start

This Chilli growing season has now really taken off with the first flowers of the season. I expect to make my first harvest of Chillies in about four  weeks from an overwintered plant.

The main benefit of overwintering Chilli plants is that they have a considerable advantage when it comes to producing fruit. I overwintered three plants from last year. With the arrival of spring, these guys jumped back into life. Leaves started shooting out from previously bare stems and cut back branches. These plants are now getting quite bushy. I have been happy with their progress.  Its become even better than that now , with the arrival of the  first flowers of the season.

Blossoming means that Chillies will be following. At the moment, this plant is still indoors on a sunny window. I am waiting for the weather to turn warm enough before moving it outside. This means the chance of these flowers becoming pollinated (without a helping hand) is quite slim. So I will need to act like a bee for a while. I will use a small watercolour paintbrush to take some pollen from the stamens of one of the flowers, and then gently paint over the ovaries of the other flowers. In this way, I hope to pollinate the flowers so that they can start producing chillies.

Using a paintbrush is a good way of pollinating plants when there is an absence of bees due to inclement  weather or other reasons ( even when the plants have been taken outdoors).

When growing from seed, you can usually only expect your first flowers of the season to come July or August.  And that is for a good season with early blossoming varieties. Some hotter Chillies like Habaneros can take over  100 days from potting on before reaching this point. With overwintering, however, the plant has already done most of its growing. After winter, all the plant needs  to do is to get back some leaves, and it’s ready to start producing.

I expect to start harvesting from this plant in a month  to six weeks from now. I will get fruit production from the plant right through until October. It could be a bumper season for this one

Growing Chillies is always good fun !

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