Greenhouse report late February 2012

Today is gorgeous: sunny and bright after early morning rain, and I can almost feel things germinating in the ground as I walk over it. Unfortunately, the weather this month has made planning very difficult so we’ve played it safe in terms of sowing and are very much behind, compared to last year. At this point in 2011 we already had chilli, pea and lavender seedlings, and poppies, primulas and sweet peas in trays ready to germinate.

This year we have … broad beans.

It’s not that we don’t have seeds to plant, we do. But I just haven’t had the confidence to get them out yet. We’ve lost so many seedlings in the past two years through the soil not being warm enough to plant them out, and there not being quite enough space in the cold greenhouse to keep them going once they’d outgrown the seed trays.

The indoor chilli is covered in little red-hot dried up chillies and has a couple of lilac flowers on it too. It will be planted out on the allotment once the frosts are over and will be amazingly prolific through the summer. Second year chilli plants always double their yield in our experience. We harvest the plant dried chillies as we need to use them through the winter and take all the remaining ones off on the last day of February so the plant can flush into new growth

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, February 23, 2012


Blogger Stacy said...

i didnt know that you can keep chilli plants i thought they were annual like most veg, how long do they keep for?

February 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Stacy - most chillies will double production in their second year. You have to keep them over the winter in a heated greenhouse (or indoors, which is what we do with ours) and only plant them out when all frosts are over. That second summer they go crazy producing fruit and then die in the first frost - so we always have one year plants in the greenhouse and two year plants in the ground, and if you save seed from your two year plants, it will normally be a bit hardier than purchased seed as it's from an outdoor pollinated flower - they get weather-acclimatised with each generation so they fruit better in British summers.

March 6, 2012 at 3:53 AM  
Anonymous Carole said...

We've tried keeping our chillies over winter a few times but they keep getting loads of little flies. They don't seem to bother the chillies (no damage) but they drive us crazy and we end up sacrificing the chilli plants. Any ideas?

March 26, 2012 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Carole, yes I do have a suggestion. It's fruit flies (which are responsible for my favourite joke in the entire world, but this is not the place for that) which overwinter in chilli plants and I do this: take the plant out of the pot, knock off the root soil, wash the entire plant in tepid water, repot in clean soil in a clean pot and take indoors. No flies ...

March 27, 2012 at 2:23 AM  
Anonymous Carole said...

Thank you! We'll give it a go this year :-)

March 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM  

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