In the garden, a few simple steps can lead to a lot of fruit, and in the kitchen, a freezer full of frozen fruit, thanks to the wonders of the hormone auxin, which is used to boost the growth of plants.
How to deal with plants that are starting to get a bit overgrown in the spring. Topping them up: this is a good way to make sure they don’t get too big and start to get in the way of your garden. 2. Plants that are getting a little leggy
If you are growing Chilli plants in your garden, you might want to consider sending them out in a more bushy style to avoid the risk of them being blown over in the wind or being knocked over if they are too big to be staked in the middle of the day. and to help them to grow more quickly and more easily in the dry weather, and to keep their weight on the ground, as well as to help you keep cool.
What is ‘Topping’?
Topping is a technique used to promote and encourage plants to branch and to prevent top heavy plants. A common problem with some Chilli Plants is that all the leaf growth is at the top of the plant with bare branches underneath and with all the fruit and growth being up top, these branches can break, threatening the whole plant. Moost of the plants hormones are stored at the top so the plant will take a few days to recover after topping, after that you’ll start to see new growth with fresh leaves and new branches forming. Not all Chilli Plant varieties will respond in the same way to topping so it’s worth testing on one plant before you chop the top of the whole bunch. Another way to decide if your plant will benefit from topping is simply to decide if the plant is bending too much or if you are worried it might snap at the stem. If the answer is yes then go ahead and top the plant as you may lose it anyway if it gets too top heavy.
What are the benefits of topping?
- More Fruit
removing the top from the main stem releases Auxin, the hormone responsible for plant growth. This encourages new shoots to grow and develop further down the plant result in more brances and ultimately more fruit.
- Smaller, Compact Plants
Chilli Plants can get a bit leggy sometimes, which essentially means big, bushy and top heavy (imagine a giraffe with an afro), Topping will make the plant smaller and more compact
- Stronger Plants
Reducing the height and allowing the plant to grow more towards the bottom will increase the stability of the plant as a whole, which you will need whe the fruit grows and the plant has to take on that extra weight. Some plants can reach up to 2m in height so you’re going to want a stable plant and the bushier it is the less likley it will be to be blown over in wind or knocked over if dry. string, multi stemmed plants are going to provide stability and less of a need for staking.
How to ‘Top’ your Chilli Plant
- Wait until the plant has between 3-5 sets of true leaves.
- Grab some scissors and snip out the main growing shoot. Leaving one or two pairs of true leaves,
- The side shoots can also be topped later on in the season if they are leggy.
Composting for More Peppers
Another great way to increase your pepper harvest and yield is with compost! Making your own compost can help you grow more robust chilli pepper plants resulting in larger harvests. Feeding plants with compost (essentially, broken down plants) is a free way to fertilize your soil and provide all the nutrients your chilli peppers need to grow big and strong and loaded with fruit. We also like to add crushed eggshells and food scraps, tissues, paper, cardboard, and other household trash to the pile to increase the mix – the idea is that the more things you have cooking and the better the mix, the faster your pile will decompose. You want to mix both greens and brown materials. Turning your pile often will help it compost faster, and gives it aeration and mixing things more thoroughly. Read more about composting your own compost here.
Water Your Chilli Peppers
Chillies are actually water-soluble and will soak up water. Water is a necessity in the growing process, as well as in any plant. Chillies need water to fully grow and to keep up their good growth. If your chilli peppers don’t get enough water, they will dry out and turn brown. Root rot can start to develop on your peppers and by letting your peppers sit in a dirty pot, it can also lead to mold (see Diseases and Problems page).Mulching your chillies is also a great way to provide water to your plants. Mulching will help to keep your plants from getting too dry, and it will also help to keep your peppers from drying out during the winter.
To keep your chillies from drying out, it is a good idea to let your peppers stay in the sun. You want your peppers to be quite dry, but not so dry that they’re wilting. If your peppers are too dry, they will turn brown and lose their color. If your peppers are too wet, they will remain green and will not turn brown.Chillies are also very sensitive to winter temperatures. If the air temperature is too low, they can turn brown and die. If the air temperature is too high, they can turn yellow.
Although the temperature is also a factor, it is important that your peppers get plenty of sunlight. In winter, for example, you can get a little frostbite on your peppers if the sun is too hot, while in summer, it’s a good idea to let your peppers take a bit of a break.
Picking Your Chilli Peppers
Pickling your chilli peppers is one of the best ways to preserve them and make them even better. We recommend that you use a salt or vinegar solution, and I like to use a combination of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. The mixture should be mixed well and then placed directly in the jar in a warm location. Let your peppers sit for a day or two, and then pull them out and let them sit a couple more days. Also, make sure your peppers are completely dry before you pick them. If they start to turn green, that means they have gotten too wet and need to rest.
When you get your peppers ready to pick, you should open your jar and let them totally dry. Too much moisture in the peppers will result in them turning yellow. You may want to remove the top or bottom of the jar to get a better view of the peppers so you can determine how much moisture it has. You can also use a kitchen towel to help you get the peppers out.
If your peppers turn brown, don’t panic. It can take a few days for them to get to that stage of brown, so you don’t want to be holding the peppers for too long. If you are worried, you can use a juice strainer to collect the water from your peppers before you put them in the strainer. You can also use a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture and allow the peppers to dry out more quickly.
You can also use a small ladle or a spoon to peel the seeds off of your peppers. You can separate the seeds from the chilli flesh by just grasping the meaty part of the fruit and pulling it out. It is very important that the seeds are very, very dry before you peel them. The seeds will swell up and get very hard to peel.
Once you have dried out the seeds, you can start to peel the chillies. You may want to use some kind of implement to break the skin off, or you can simply cut the skin off of the seeds and peel them with the skin.
After you have peel your chillies, you can store them in a container and keep them in the refrigerator for a couple of days. After several days, you will want to take them out of the refrigerator and let them sit
I’m the guy behind The Chilli Expert. I’m always learning new things about growing, cooking and eating Chillies which I hope I can share with you all.