Adding a Bit of Spice to Your Life Growing Chilli Peppers
For many of us who love a little pepper, we know what this means. In my opinion, some foods just don’t taste good or have that wow until a little pepper is added. As a child growing up, my father who is now deceased loved adding pepper to his meals. While it is good to add some pepper for that sizzle be careful in how much you use because too much pepper can be damaging to our stomachs which can lead to other issues.
My father once told me about a person he knew that ate a pepper sandwich. Believe me no joke in every scene of the word it was a pepper sandwich just two slices of bread with peppers nothing else.
Never had I ever heard of such a thing, I know there are some pepper lovers out there but I also believe there is a thing as taking it too far and this individual really took it too far, in fact, they took it to the limit. Just thought I might share that story with you
How to grow chilli peppers
Chilli peppers can really wake up our food. But how is chill peppers grown and cared for, what journey do they take from the garden to our kitchens? Let’s take a closer look as we seek to grow and care for these peppers from our home gardens.
When growing chilli peppers location is so important. Choosing a location that gets 5-6 hours of sun will help your plant greatly.
Soil does matter, to keep your peppers growing at their best us a good potting soil along with adding compost will keep your plants happy.
Keep your plants somewhat moist not waterlogged because overwatering your chilli peppers will cost root rot.
Feeding your chilli peppers is a great way to provide those needed vitamins. A good choice of fertilizer for your peppers is 5-10-10. Adding dry manure such as chicken, horse or cow manure will work wonders.
When using fertilizers always read the label and follow as directed because the label is the law.
Growing chilli peppers in containers
When growing chilli peppers in containers chose containers anywhere from seven gallons or larger. The peppers that are shown here in this photo have outgrown their pots and must be transplanted directly into the soil or larger containers. Use good garden soil as discussed above along with compost.
What is also important is placing containers in a location that gets at least 5-6 hours of sunlight. Seeds can be sowed directly into the soil. Thoroughly water soil followed by adding seeds to the planting hole.
Do not plant seeds too deeply. Seeds should be sowed about an inch into the soil. Add fertilizers as was discussed above.
Chilli pepper insect pests
There are a host of insects pest that will seek to make a meal out of your chilli pepper plants which include
- Flea beetles
- Spider mites
- Pepper maggots
- Slugs /Snails
1. To control slugs/snails, handpicking along with using copper tape and matting around plants offers some help
2. Aphids can be controlled by spraying plants with a strong stream of water, organic insect sprays or a mixture of a teaspoon of dish liquid to a gallon of water.
Add this solution to a 32oz handheld sprayer and apply it to the leaves of the plant. Allow the solution to remain on the plant leaves for 2-3 hours and then rinse with fresh water. Apply this treatment every 7 days as needed.
3. Spider mites can also cause server damage to plants. They are so tiny that it is hard to see them but the damage is visible. Take a piece of white paper and place it under plant leaves and gently tap the leaves.
If you see tiny specks or dots moving then you have pinpointed the culprits. Control spider mites the seem like aphids. Also using neem and horticultural oil can help.
4. Thrips are tiny insects that can also cause harm. I read an article many years ago that mentions that the saliva of thrips is very toxic and once their saliva is injected into the plant, the leaves will turn yellow then brown when this happens the leaves will detach and fall to the soil surface.
I experience an outbreak of thrips many years ago that leaf a bed of hibiscus I was caring for to become sickly as the leaves begin to die, Those hibiscuses started to look like a skeleton until I counter-attack eliminating These (thrips) garden pest.
To control chilli thrips treat the seeds with imidacloprid or botanical insecticide.
5. Pepper maggots are a mixture of white and yellow. These maggots can really have an effect on your chilli peppers. These maggots feed on the inside of the pods causing the peppers to turn red prematurely and die.
Control these maggots by checking pods for small holes. Remove these pods and discard them. It these pods are not removed they will attract other flies that can really compound the problem.
Control trips with insecticidal soap, neem or horticultural oil, and other insecticides that is the label for trips on edible plants.
6. Whiteflies are white tiny insects that live on the underside of the plant’s leaves. When the leaves are tapped or shaken gently they will fly away from the plant but will return to the plant just as quickly.
They cause server damage by causing the leaves of plants to curl up, turn yellow, brown, and then die because of their saliva. Controlling whiteflies can be difficult.
The use of safer soaps, pruning infected plant parts and discarding properly, applying organic neem oil or horticultural oil offers good help. Lacewings and ladybugs are natural predators that feed on the eggs of whiteflies. This natural method is known as biological control.
Diseases of chilli pepper
Another problem that many home gardeners face is controlling diseases of chilli peppers. Knowing how to identify and control these disease will determine the health of your chilli pepper plants.
1. Grey mold which is caused by a fungus causes the young leaves, flowers, and stems to wilt. The spores that appear on the infected areas are grey and powdery. Control this fungus by proper spacing of plants. Using a fungicide will also help when combating this disease. This disease is brought on by high humidity.
2. White mold shows up us rotting or blights. The effects of this fungus cause the infected parts to take on a water-soaked appearance that is greasy and dark green. The lesion appears on the stem that looks grey to brownish. To control this disease remove infected parts, crop rotation also offers help.
3. Bacterial wilt shows up as the chilli peppers plant leaves wilting. After a few days the entire plant wilts. The best control is to plant disease-free plant. When purchasing seeds make sure that seeds are healthy.
4. Damping-off is another disease that is caused by planting the seeds too deeply, high amounts of salt, and purchasing seeds that are far from healthy. Signs include seeds that are stunted, seeds that fail to emerge, and seedlings that collapse. To control damping-off use copper fungicides also purchase seeds that are quality seeds, Don’t use soils that have poor drainage, and ensure that the planting bed has good ventilation.
5. Anthracnose is caused by a fungus from poor plant air circulation, high moisture, and warm conditions. Moist conditions also cause yellow or pink spores to appear. This fungus affects unripe and ripe pods by sunken circular spots.
Control this disease by applying fungicides, using disease-free seeds and crop rotation is effective in bringing anthracnose under control.
6. Bacterial soft spot is caused by a bacteria that affects the chilli pepper pods. The tissues of the pod turn watery and have a foul odor. Wet conditions only make the problem more severe.
Control this disease by avoiding wet conditions also plants should be planted in well-drain soil.
7. Bacterial leaf spot is brought on by moist conditions. This disease appears as small water-soaked areas that enlargen, this disease has a yellow halo and black center. As this disease persists the spots increase on the plant. Leaves will turn yellow and fall off. When this happens pods will be susceptible to sunscald.
8. Powdery mildew is brought on by warm wet conditions. The signs of this disease is a powdery white substance that forms on the leaves of plants. Powdery mildew causes leaf-drop to expose your pods which causes sun-scald. This disease can be controlled by using fungicides. Control this disease with copper fungicides, crop rotation, and disease-free seeds.
Harvesting your chilli pepper
Chilli peppers can take anywhere from 2-5 months before they are ready to harvest. Your chilli peppers should have that rich full color as a sign that you can begin to pick them.
Many home gardeners are afraid of this procedure and avoid it. What they are doing is causing more harm than good by refusing to prune their chilli peppers.
I read a story one time ago about a farmer’s wife who shared her views of pruning. She had beautiful flowers growing in her garden and when she was asked about pruning here rosebush her answer was she had rather ” cut off one of her chickens head than to prune her rosebush”
We ought not to be fearful like this farmer’s wife but prune our chilli pepper plants to keep them healthy. Reasons to prune includes
- Pruning will give you a more fuller plant
- Pruning will cause your chilli pepper tree to produce more peppers
- Prune plant parts that are broken so your chilli peppers can have a great form.
- Plant parts that are diseased can be removed with this procedure
- Prune non-productive parts of chilli pepper plant that is not producing peppers.
The final word
Growing chilli peppers from your home gardener are really great. What I love about having a home garden is being able to grow and harvest my own foods.Chilli peppers are a great choice to add to your home garden so go ahead and plant some.