Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Overwintered Peppers - a sunny update

Perhaps, followers (humour me) of my overwintering pepper saga are curious what has happened to the darlings now that they have come out the other side of darkness and cold.

Well, fourty leaf fatali has a little surprise for us:

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The Recap:

To save you from searching through links to find out all about the excitement of fourty leaf fatali, let me tell you a tale.

Once upon a time, there was a man who was married to a plant crazed lady. She made him watch the children while she attended some excruiatingly boring seed event with a whole bunch of long haired organic types. He would have been dozing in the corner if it wasn't for their baby and toddler. To try and entertain the man, she suggested he pick out a hot pepper variety to grow.

He picked out fatali. The name, at the very least, sounded promising.

However, the plant proved to be anything but. It produced a ground total of 4 leaves the first year. Yes, four. Admittedly, it was smushed into a pot with two other peppers but that was only because the crazy plant lady assumed that the 2 leafed seedling was going to keel over at any minute when potting time arrived.

Well, crazy plant lady decided to try one of her crazy plant projects and brought the overcrowded pepper pot indoors for the looooooooooooooong Ottawa winter. She managed through much subtle negotiation to secure the coveted south window light for her babies. Noticing they looked unhappy in January, she repotted them. By this time, four leaf fatali had suprised her by turning into fourteen leaf fatali. Maybe it liked cold wintertime windows and low angled sun? It also produced buds, would it grow fruit? No such luck! The beds fell. The leaves started to look sad.

Crazy plant lady sighed.

But come spring, she stuck it in the garden in the designated hot pepper spot with what she presumed were others of its kind. Unfortunately, a wind storm had knocked over all her potted pepper babies and she had repotted them hastily, forgetting to make sure they were all labelled properly so Fatali is surrounded by sweet peppers.

Then fourty leaf fatali made more buds, and low and behold fruit!

More overwintered peppers

And my cayenne plants are producing their second crop. I think I'll try and overwinter some of the sweet varities this year.


Gardenista said...

So this brings up my lack of knowledge about the lives of pepper plants. You say you overwintered the peppers. Are peppers really perennial in other places, willing to produce for several years if given ideal conditions? I've got some pepper plants under lights indoor because I've given up on outdoor peppers altogether, but I don't know how long they'll produce for!

Ottawa Gardener said...

They are perennial. According to some, the sweet pepper variety are more short lived than the hot peppers, especially those that would normally grow wild but I have not had official scientific important sounding words confirmation of that. At any rate, my long cayennes produced a crop indoors which riped outdoors and is producing another crop now.

Also, Eggplants are perennials! Once again, I don't know how long they live but heck, I'm going to try.

And tomatoes are perennials too. Same caution as above. Not only that but you can take cuttings of tomato plants to overwinter.

Fun eh!

Patrick said...

Was the quality of the second year peppers as good as the first year?

Do you have a sense if the plants are losing any of their vitality (or getting stronger)?

Ottawa Gardener said...

The two cayennes in pots have produced about as many peppers as they did last year however in two crops as opposed to one over the space of months. However, they may be stressed because I have them in irregularly watered pots.

However, the fatali which is in the ground is doing much much better but then again, it did nothing last year.

I think it is still early days to declare it a success though I have read in other people's posts very good results from keeping hot peppers going.

The most obvious advantage so far is a staggered harvest.

Another interesting note, is that the hot cayenne has died off at the top, again this could be drought related.

I'll continue to update you. Next year will be more interesting, I'm sure.

chz said...

thanks for the inspiration - I started some saved heirloom tomato seeds inside last winter, in anticipation of my landscaping work being finished in May, as promised by my contractor. So naive... Fast forward to the end of august, the work was finally done, but the poor tomatoes are still in little pots, healthy but only 8" high.

Based on your experience, I'm going to try overwintering them inside until next spring and see how they turn out.

And, if any of them turn out to be extra special, I'll take in a couple of cuttings next fall and keep 'em going!