And now, the pepper survival report. Every single pepper plant from the raised bed ended up in the compost bin. But I also grew a lot of peppers in pots and in a bed near the house. In this corner, bleah, it looks pretty bad, but I am actually optimistic about a couple of the baccatum plants, I've seen them regrow from from such states before. The plant in the large terra cotta pot in the corner (Aji Santa Cruz) has dropped all its leaves but most of the rest of the plant is ok.
Over here is a another baccatum, Aji de la Tierra, a survivor from last year that overwintered in the ground and was then transplanted to a pot this spring and cut down to about 8 inches tall. It looks better this winter than last. The problem with this variety is that the peppers ripen very very late. Last month, just before we had the first freezing temperatures of the year, 99% of the peppers on the plant were still green. I haven't tried any of the peppers that are turning red now. I think that next year I'll move the plant to a more protected spot...
like over here by the house. There's a big leggy Manzano pepper (Capsicum pubescens) which is one of the most cold tolerant pepper species. Plants can survive for years in mild climates.
But there's also an offspring of that now big brown shaggy dead looking African Blue Basil in the garden. This baby was totally unfazed by three nights of freezing temperatures. Still blooming and feeding bees...
And a Suave Orange pepper, a chinense species, the least cold tolerant pepper species that I grow, still very much alive...
And yet one more pot with another chinense variety of pepper, one of the Puerto Ricans, I don't remember which.
I didn't cover any of the plants in that corner, the only protection they had was their proximity to the house. It probably helped a lot that that corner is south facing so the walls warmed up during the day and kept the area a bit warmer through the night.
Also in front of the house but not as close is a bed where I planted a few more baccatum peppers. All of these plants are still very much alive even though most of them have dropped most of their leaves. It's interesting to me that the plant that I left a lot of peppers on has retained the most leaves.
|Christmas Bell Picante|
My experiment with overwintering pepper plants outdoors continues out back. The next two plants are sitting under the canopy of an oak tree and the overhead protection seems to have spared them the worst effects of the freezing nights. The plant on the left is a baccatum and the other is a chinense.
Close by, these two chinense plants had only partial overhead protection.
And over here these chinense plants had no overhead protection.
This Rocotillo plant has it easy, it gets to stay inside at night and on cold days. This was my favorite of all the chinense species plants that I grew this year. I love the flavor and it was incredibly productive. It's hard to see in this photo, but it's loaded with ripe peppers.
There they are!
Back in July I received the seeds of a couple of unusual pepper varieties that I received in exchanges and I couldn't resist sowing some even though it was far too late in the season to get any mature peppers this year. Here they are basking in the sun of a mild December day. I've been keeping them indoors at night and on cold days. These are Pimenta Biquinho, a sweet chinense pepper from Brazil, and Pima Rodrigues, a spicy annuum pepper from the island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean. Some of the Biquinhos have flowers already, although none of them have set.
I hope that a lot of these plants make it through the winter, it depends on how many more freezing nights we get and whether or not any of the plants succumb to fungal diseases. And those new babies are sporting a population of aphids now. One application of Pyganic, an OMRI approved pyrethrin insecticide, took care of a lot of them, but it looks like I might have to give them another application.