overwintering hot peppers

chili pepper in a pot

Before the downpour this morning, while it was still just sprinkling, I was out feeding my chickens and noticed that one of my chili pepper plants was looking particularly full of flower buds. It’s now halfway through September, so in order to take advantage of all these blooms I potted it up and put it in the greenhouse. Eventually even the greenhouse will be too cold, so I’ll bring it in the house for the coldest parts of winter. I’ll keep it near the heater vent, both for heat and for air movement – this will help a bit with pollination, but I will probably also take a soft paint brush to all the flowers too – just gently brushing each one every other day or so when they’re open.

This is something I learned from my grandpa – he has successfully overwintered hot pepper plants and kept them alive for 5 or more years, still producing hot peppers all through the seasons. I’ve had some luck myself; in the picture below is a jalapeno pepper plant that I overwintered for one winter. Unfortunately it didn’t make it through the second – I’m not sure what the problem was – but I’m going to try again with the chili pepper plant.

potted jalapeno

See all the flowers? It was a very prolific plant!

If you want to try this yourself, be sure to use potting soil mixed with some composted manure to fill in the extra space around your plant roots. It’s ok to have a bit of garden soil in there, like what’s holding the roots of the plant, but potting soil is best for pots because it allows the roots to breathe a little better than garden soil does. Three things a plant needs from soil: Air, Water, and Nutrients. Too much or too little of any of these can cause problems.

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Thanks Erin for commenting on yesterday’s post – I’ll contact you about getting you the Lemon Basil seeds!

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