On Todays 5minute Friday, I am going to show you, how to prepare chilli plants for winter.
When you look at the plant and it has a lot of fruit, you may think it’s not time to cut it back, but in fact it is. The fruit can still be eaten ripe or unripe, so you don't need to waste it. The fruit still growing, can take away, a lot of energy from the plant. Chillies are perennial plants, so we are thinking of the plant, rather than the fruit.
We have done lots of experiments on overwintering chillies, and reducing the size of the plant, is a real must. By removing the fruit, this lets the plant put all its energy and strength, into growing strong for the next season.
The harvest time for chillies is quite short, so storing them is a great way to preserve them, for use during the winter. Whole chillies will keep well in a zip lock bag in the fridge or pantry. You can dry them on a low setting in the oven, roughly 5 to 6 hours, until crumbly. Freezing is particularly good, slice open and remove stems, then freeze, whole or chopped depending on how you want to use them.
On the nursery it has been a long-standing family recipe, that we make chilli jam, delicious with a cheeseboard, glazed on pork or bacon, stirred into a chilli or Bolognese. Enjoy your chilli plants, however you like them.
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How to cut back your chilli plants for winter.
- Start by removing some of the large stems, cutting just above the break, as shown in video. If you are in any doubt, just cut a little bit less.
- Work your way around the plant, reducing the fruit stems, as you go.
- We can’t leave chilli plants outside during the winter, so a conservatory, or a light room or windowsill is best for them, during the cold months.
- We should be reducing the plant by 2 thirds, and same with watering, these things will all help it over the winter.