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Monday, April 4, 2011

4/4 Harvest - Overwintered Peppers

I'm officially declaring my experiment with overwintering peppers indoors a big success.  We harvested an occasional pepper here and there throughout this winter as needed, but today we harvested most of the cayenne peppers from the indoor pepper plant. My first "big" harvest of 2011, and I totally forgot to weigh it.  Sigh.  After a long winter, I guess I'm just out of practice with harvesting and reporting.


Most of the harvested peppers were already dry (because we left them on the plant unharvested for so long), but there were a few "young" peppers in there as well, as you can see in the picture above.


Above is a full body shot of the cayenne pepper plant in all its glory before we harvested the peppers.  Well, actually you can't see the peppers all that well in this picture, but they were really there.


Here's a close-up with some peppers and new blossoms.  I posted last December that this plant was starting to put on new blossoms.  After that, the blossoms and new peppers just kept coming all winter long with hardly a break, which we thought was pretty cool.  And, the pepper plant stayed green and healthy the whole time.  The best part about it all was that this plant required pretty much zero maintenance from us, aside from watering once every week or two.  Ahh, if only the rest of vegetable gardening was that simple.

Keith asked me if I was going to put the plant outside again after the weather warms up.  And the answer is... I haven't decided.  My first thought was, why fix something if it's not broken?  But who knows, maybe it will do even better outdoors in the summer heat.

Aside from the peppers, there's been many new garden activities and I'm past due on some garden updates.  Without making any promises, I'll try to post more often this week to catch up on all the garden happenings.

Happy Harvest Monday!

21 comments:

meemsnyc said...

That is so awesome! I'm growing cayenne for the first time this year, and I'll have to try to overwinter them too! How large is your container? My other peppers that I tried to overwinter didn't work. I left them on the enclosed porch and it was too cold. I'll have to leave it in the living room next time.

Robin said...

Boy your inside pepper experiment was a big success!!

I would really like to see what has been going on in your garden..posts Please :)

thyme2garden said...

meems - I've been meaning to ask how your peppers did this winter. Sorry to hear they didn't make it. My best guess is that our pepper container is about 14-16 inches in diameter. I'll try to remember to measure it next time I'm home.

Robin - Thank you for the encouragement!

kitsapFG said...

Did this pepper plant start out in your indoor grow box? I can see in the picture that it is now just inside and getting sun from a window but the plant is unusually healthy and productive for a window exposure plant - I was thinking it may have gotten a big jump with the light bath that the grow box would provide.

RandomGardener said...

I'm very impressed! The pepper plant gets a lot of sunlight, I'm sure, that's what keeps it going and going. We don't have much sunlight during winter, so plants just survive and not really do much.

Daphne said...

I've never overwintered a pepper plant. I have brought one in so the peppers can get ripe, but then I tossed it on the compost pile. Maybe I should have let it live.

Emily said...

Your pepper plant looks great. My experiment was a failure mostly because I didn't keep up with the aphids and they sucked the plants dry. I may try to see if the plants will revive outside come spring.

thyme2garden said...

kitsapFG - we started this pepper plant from seed fairly late last year, around early July. It spent first few weeks in the grow box, then a couple of months outside, and it was brought inside in late September and has been at this same location since then. You can see what the plant looked like in September in this post: http://thyme2gardennow.blogspot.com/2010/09/overwintering-peppers-indoors-day-one.html

I'm surprised how much bushier the plant has grown with just winter sunlight through the window.

RandomGardener - you know, I didn't think we got that much sunlight during winter here in Indianapolis, but apparently it was plenty enough for the pepper plant.

Daphne - this is pretty much the only spot in the house where we could keep a plant over winter. But it was definitely worth it!

Emily - thank you! I'm really glad I didn't have to deal with aphids on this plant. I had them in some of my other plants outside last fall, and I could not deal with them well enough to keep the plants alive.

Lynda said...

Oh wow! I had a gal at my farmers market tell me she has pepper plants that are 4 years old! I am so impressed with your pepper! Good for you!

michelle said...

Great job overwintering that pepper plant! I tried to keep a few plants indoors this winter but could not keep ahead of the aphids. I finally stripped all the leaves off the plants which gave the aphids fewer places to hang out. Now that the weather is warming up here the peppers are back outside and starting to grow again. I hope the plants will make a full recovery.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Because of your awesome blog posts about overwintering pepper plants indoors, I was inspired to try starting all of my peppers very early, and if they grew too large for the grow lights to just keep them indoors as houseplants. I have a lot of very large pepper plants now! They don't grow very well for me unless they are on the lights, but they don't die when I take them off the lights. I will do a blog post soon, so that you can see what I am up to.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Also, do you do any root pruning to keep the pepper plants small in your containers while they are indoors? And, are you considering overwintering anything else unusual this year?

thyme2garden said...

Lynda - I've been wondering how long these pepper plants could last. Thanks for that data point of at least 4 years!

Michelle - I've heard several gardeners mention aphids now. I wonder how my pepper plant escaped that one, because I know we had aphid in the garden (not on the peppers, though). I hope your peppers make a full recovery in outdoor sunshine!

Veetable Garden Cook - I hope your large pepper plants do well as houseplants. It may have helped my plant that it got to spend about 2 months outside in the sun in late summer, but it would be cool to see how your experiment with peppers as an indoor houseplant works out. I didn't do any root pruning of my pepper plant - maybe that's why it keeps getting bigger? Right now, the container that it's in is big enough, but I may have to consider pruning if it keeps growing. I haven't decided on any other overwintering projects yet, but if I do, I'll be sure to report on it!

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