Getting rid of the gnats
I recently noticed an increase in the number of fungus gnats hovering around my Rocotos and other Chillies. While I have usually been able to keep fungus gnats under reasonable control by limiting my watering and using sticky fly paper, it just seems there are more of them around. Whether this is to do with me increasing the temperature in my grow tents, I am not sure. But one thing I do know is that I must take the bull by the horns. The time had come to get rid of these pests by using my new super weapon – hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen when mixed to the ratio of one part 3 % H202 to four parts, water is an effective way to get rid of fungus gnat larvae and eggs. I made up a solution to this ratio and used it to treat the seed starting mix that my seedlings are planted in. To do this, I poured the solution onto the surface of the mix. The hydrogen peroxide drained through the mix and in the process killed off most of the larvae. By doing this, I hope to have broken the life cycle of the fungus gnats. Adults only live for seven days. By killing off the larvae and eggs, I will have reduced their ability to continue multiplying. It is the first step in permanently getting rid of these pests.
One problem solved, but potentially another was created. I have observed that when I add the H202 to seedling pots, the seed starting mix seems to expand and become “fizzy”. I have read somewhere along the line that hydrogen peroxide provides oxygen to the roots, but I also thought I had read that the fizzing is a reaction to acidity. This got me thinking – was the H202 having an impact on my seed starting mix? Was the hydrogen peroxide perhaps affecting the PH? That wouldn’t have been good, because Chillies prefer slight acidity in the seed starting and potting mixes.
Third potting on of a Rocoto
Rocky, the tallest of my Rocotos, has been potted on again. This is his third repotting. His first was done in mid-December, when he was two inches tall. He was transplanted into 50 mm pots. A couple of weeks later, when he was three inches tall, he was potted on for the second time. He has now reached 4 inches tall, so has been potted into a 130 mm (one litre) pot. I followed the principles of my same size as pot rule to determine the correct time for potting on this Rocoto Chilli plant.
Rocco, another Rocoto, will also be potted on shortly. He is about three inches.The rest still have a while to go, but I can see these Rocotos being potted on in the next couple of weeks.
I have been impressed with how quickly my Rocotos have grown. They were planted in late November 2021. In addition to the ones mentioned above, all are at least two inches tall. When comparing them with other Chillies that were started at the same time or even earlier, they definitely stand out. They seem healthier and more robust than most of my other plants. This however is apparently not that uncommon. Rocotos are known to be cold weather resistant plants. They are also said to be exceptionally resistant to, resistant to diseases, infections, and pests. These are tough Chilli plants that can take a punch. There is no doubt about that!
With the biggest of my Rocotos already this big, it has got me thinking what will happen down the line. Come May, when I start hardening off, these plants will be far bigger. I don’t envisage these Rocotto Chilli plants being potted on again before then. However, once they are hardened off, I will have to decide on the size of the containers I will pot them on into. Once I have done the final potting on, I will place the Rocotos outside for the rest of the season.