Greenhouse pepper pollination

We grow peppers in a greenhouse, as I suspect many people do, to provide a long enough growing season to get them to ripen. This means we can start them off several weeks earlier than if we were growing them outside, and protect them from autumn chills while the fruits mature and change colour on the plant.

Peppers are greedy, so you need to give them a good growing medium once the seeds germinate and we feed ours with tomato feed on a daily basis too. Indoor grown peppers can be tricky sometimes – they don’t necessarily pollinate without insects so here’s what I do:

Take a small paintbrush and moisten the tip (you can dip it in water, but I just lick the thing!). Find an open flower like the one in the first photograph and gently dab at the pollen – if it’s ready, it will tend to shower out of the flower, but some will stick to the brush.

Move the brush to another flower - same plant, different plant, doesn’t seem to matter – and dabble away, moving some of the pollen off the brush and picking up some other pollen along the way. As the flower petals dry and fall away, you can see that each individual pepper is forming

Continue this process with all the open flowers every day and you’ll end up with a bumper crop of peppers. If you do, you’ll need to stake or tie up the peppers as they soon get too heavy for the plant – we tend to cradle ours, using canes and padded wire around the stem just back from where the pepper joins the plant to give each pepper maximum support.

You may also need to mist plants to discourage red spider mites. We cut our ripe fruits with pruners to avoid damage to the plant which can have a very soft and sappy stem when greenhouse grown.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, July 1, 2010


Blogger Ali said...

that's really good to know, many thanks for that blog post. Now where did I put that paint brush?

July 1, 2010 at 5:15 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

My pleasure Ali - I didn't know this for a couple of years but now I have more than doubled my pepper harvest by ensuring I pollinate all the flowers by hand.

July 8, 2010 at 9:38 AM  

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