Chilli peppers are tender plants which will require protection of a glasshouse or polythene tunnel to produce successful crops in the Irish climate. In very mild areas it may be possible to get some fruit maturing later in the summer if grown in containers in a bright sheltered spot in the garden.
Chilli peppers are available in a range of sizes, colour and strength of hot flavour depending on variety. They are used to add heat to many dishes, meat or sauces.
- As for tomatoes with temperatures in the range from 21 to 25oC.
- Where a small number of plants from a range of varieties are required, purchasing plants from the garden centre or garden shop is an option.
- Check that plants are disease and pest free.
- After roots have filled the pot, plant out in the greenhouse into growbags or containers.
- Remove the pot and plant at the same level as the compost in the starter pot.
- Planting in the sunniest part of the greenhouse will allow best flavour to develop.
- Tying plants to a 90cm cane will be sufficient support for chilli plants grown in unheated greenhouses.
- Chilli peppers are not as hungry as tomatoes and will not require as much feeding to maintain nutrient levels.
- A high potash feed will encourage fruit development and intensify flavour and colour. Feed at about half the strength one would use for tomatoes or limit feeding to once per week. (Use tomato feed mixes according to manufacturer’s directions.)
- A strong sturdy plant will produce better quality fruit. Reducing the number of fruits will encourage larger, fleshier fruits to develop.
- High temperatures will stimulate vegetative growth. Temperatures below 12oC will result in poor fruit set and misshapen fruit. Some form of heating may be required during spells of dull cold weather.
- In prolonged periods of very strong sunshine high temperatures above 35oC in the greenhouse will interfere with fruit-set. Shading and good ventilation can help. These plants require high light levels to produce fruits with intense flavour.
- The fruits are generally smaller than the related sweet peppers.
- First fruits can be picked as green.
- Allow some fruits to mature and turn red.
- Cut the fruit from the plant using a knife or secateurs to leave a clean wound.