Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
After Harvesting
The growing season and harvesting period is dictated by the weather. Pepper plants
will continue to grow and peppers can be picked until the first frost of the season. Frost will
kill the plant and any peppers still on the plant. Therefore, if you live in a climate with frost
and the first frost is coming, there are three options open to you: 1. Ripen any remaining
peppers indoors; 2. Bring your plant indoors and overwinter before replanting in spring; 3.
Dig up the plant and prepare for next year.
Ripen peppers indoors - while you may have had a bountiful harvest and regularly
picked peppers for a good spell of time, there is still something annoying about seeing lots
of unripened peppers on the plant which will fall victim to frost. Fear not! These peppers
can still be salvaged. There are two options open to you. Firstly you can simply pick the
peppers and have them mature inside (this of course will only work for peppers which have
reached their full size). When this happens, I pick my peppers into some plastic garbage
buckets (I tend to have quite a lot of plants growing at any one time!) and bring these inside
to the warmth to ripen. Every few days I go through the buckets removing any ripened pep-
pers and continue until all have matured. Alternatively you can dig up the entire plant and
hang it upside down by the roots in a dry place e.g. your basement. The peppers will then
slowly ripen and can be cut off when mature.
Overwintering - while pepper plants are perennials, due to frost and their growth
in non-natural environments, we tend to think of them as annuals. However, given proper
care and attention, you can allow your plants to survive over winter and continue growing
for further seasons. Typically you can get a few seasons from the plant, before yield starts
to decrease. If you are growing your plants in a container, it is very easy to salvage the
remaining peppers on the plant and to allow it to survive over winter. In this instance, at
the first threat of frost, bring the plant indoors to a warm, sunny spot e.g. a sunny window,
where it can receive sufficient light and warmth to allow the peppers to ripen. Alternatively
if your plant is growing in the ground, you need to dig up the entire plant and pot into a
container, taking care not to damage the roots in the process. The container should be one
that looks just the right size bordering on being too small. Don't worry if you are losing
soil from the roots, as you will be adding fresh soil to the pot. Add fresh potting compost
around and below the roots - don't cover the roots with fresh soil. Similar to the hardening
out process, moving a plant from its growing spot outdoors into a container indoors, can be
quite traumatic for the plant, so it is best to acclimatize it to its new environment, gradu-
ally moving the plant indoors. To keep the plant alive over winter three things are needed:
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