I planted a few sunflower seedlings, but somehow only ended up with one big sunflower head for seeds. I think there may have been squirrels involved, because one of the stems looks like it was chewed off at one point (before they became like tree trunks). The plants did fairly well, though, tucked between the greenhouse and the neighbour’s fence. Fairly sunny if you considered how the light could actually pass through the greenhouse. And the flowers are so tall they can reach the sun anyway. They were tall and spindly at first, but filled out as the season progressed. I actually forgot about them most of the time. It was a pleasant surprise to find the largest sunflower head I’ve ever seen! It was planted in the former location of our rabbit hutch and, I have to say, that rabbit manure sure works well. With the frost coming, I thought it might be best to take the seed head indoors to continue ripening away from potential seed-stealers in my backyard. We’ve got quite the selection of birds and squirrels who would love to take care of our seeds I’m sure.
Before I brought it in, I cut a stem about 2 feet long or so, and scraped off all the dead flower bits from the seeds. You can see in the photo, I’ve done a bit of it already. This was to prevent all those bits from littering my living room floor. Once it was all cleaned off, with seeds still embedded in the seed head, I brought it indoors and hung it up with all the hot peppers I’ve had up for a few weeks.
I will leave it here for a few weeks, most likely. Until they’re dry and rattle a bit.
I’m really happy with the way my hot peppers and paprika have ripened indoors. Back when frost was threatening, I pulled up many of the hot pepper plants in the garden (and paprika, which is a sweet pepper) and brought them indoors to continue ripening. I basically shook the dirt off the roots (outside) and when I brought them in I covered the roots with plastic bags. This was mainly as a precaution to keep my living room from turning into a filthy mess. Once the bags were on the roots (taped on with duct tape, of course) I hung them upside down in staggered lengths so they could continue ripening.
I have to say this is working really well. The large round paprika peppers you see in the photo were all pale yellow when I brought them in. Now they are red and ready for me to dry them and grind them into paprika! All the hot peppers have done really well too, although some are starting to dry right on the plant. For me this is ok, because I was going to dry them anyway.
So, if you are worried about frost because you still have unripe peppers on your pepper plants, pull them up by the roots, shake off the soil, and hang them upside down somewhere. If you don’t want to bother covering the roots you can always find a basement corner for them. Although they would probably appreciate warmth better than a slightly chilled basement.
You can also overwinter hot peppers in pots, keeping them alive indoors until spring.
Two of the same variety of hot pepper – Chinese Ornamental – were seeded indoors at the same time, watered the same, exposed to the same lights and sunlight, potted into containers for deck-top gardening at the same time, and…… one is way bigger. The photo above shows these two pepper plants. The only difference in their treatment to date has been the size of container. And, honestly, there’s only ONE plant in the large container.
I have many peppers in pots of various sizes on my deck. Partly because I could NOT compost them, and partly because I wanted to plant them in various sized pots to see what would happen. Well. It seems pretty obvious to me that if you want a prolific plant you should give it lots of root room. The large container is probably a 3-4 gallon size, and the smaller one is maybe a half gallon. Way too small. Unless you want to grow a fairy garden of course. Those are pretty cute, if you’re into that sort of thing.
If you want lots of hot peppers, though, you’ll want to give your peppers some root space. I’ve also found that the bell peppers I planted with tomatoes and basil didn’t really appreciate it. No peppers on those plants, even though the pot is very large. However, the hot peppers I planted 3 in a container (Black Hungarian, Variegated Fish, Chinese Ornamental) seem to be enjoying the company and are producing moderately well.
Peppers are one of the few things that do well in pots. They enjoy the extra warmth to their root zones that the exposure provides, as long as they are watered well enough. If your garden is getting seemingly smaller every year because of how many new things you want to try, then consider growing peppers in pots. Just make sure the pots are large enough and you’re good to go.
The first ripe tomatoes – Sungold. These are a hybrid variety, so they will likely be taken off the list for next year since I want to focus on the heirloom varieties.
Here you can see three different plant types mixing together: watermelon (the really lobed ones), blue pumpkin (the largest ones), and cantaloupe (the in-betweenies).
A small watermelon! EEP! Can’t wait.
The beginnings of a blue pumpkin.
I found three cantaloupes under all those leaves! Crossing every possible digit that these babies make it ok. We love cantaloupe.
Volunteer plants are so much fun. I noticed a squash vine growing in my garden where none was planted, and thought I’d let it grow and see what it was. Looks like it will be a pumpkin! Also notice another volunteer in the background – this is purslane, an edible weed. Yum!
The zucchini has given up the ghost. Not a great year for zucchini. Too little rain.
My two tomatillo plants are sprawling and loaded with fruit. I can hardly believe it, after thinking when I planted them out that they were so small and wondering if they had enough time to catch up!
Another volunteer/edible weed: lamb’s quarters.
Chinese ornamental hot pepper. So many flowers! I can’t wait to see this when all the peppers are red.
Super chili hot peppers! They’re larger than I expected them to be.
Well. That’s it for now. How is your garden growing?
I love hot peppers; my favourite condiment is Frank’s Hot Sauce. So I’m really looking forward to growing some amazing new hot peppers this year! I thought I’d share some old favourites and some promising new-to-me varieties that I’m planning to grow.
First, let me say that hot peppers really really like the heat. They are a plant that might actually do better in a pot on a hot hot balcony than in the ground. Because they like it hot. Just don’t forget to water them!
Here are a few that I’m excited about for this year:
Variegated Fish Pepper. This variety of hot pepper has variegated leaves, meaning they’re mottled dark green/light green. The peppers turn every colour of the rainbow, and stripey too, before they are finally fully ripe. I am super excited to try them out!
Black Hungarian. These hot peppers were requested again this year by a gardener who tried them last year for the first time. They look a bit like jalapenos, but they’re dark dark purple, almost black. Great flavour!
Thai Hot Pepper. Tiny red hot pepper with big hot flavour. My Grandpa grows these indoors for a continual supply of heat to use in his cooking. Grandma won’t touch them.
Other hot peppers are cayenne, chili, jalapeno, chinese ornamental (still edible), and paprika.
Hopefully it will be a good year for hot peppers! I’m planning to start the seeds really soon because they need more time to grow to the right size than the sweet peppers or tomatoes.