Friday Musings on a beautiful sunny morning after a very stormy night when The first ever named storm beat our western shores yesterday and last night and landed across the UK next door.
Dramatic though it may have appeared, I think we are pretty much used to wind and rain in winter…After all we are the last European frontier on the western Atlantic coast
Sitting here this morning chopping up seaweed that i gathered on a really lovely warm sunny day with my friend Julie on Streda beach above Sligo town last week…Good job really! as today it will all be either gone or flung in the sand dunes i would imagine!!
Its mostly dried now so can be shredded bagged and stored for winter use in soups and veggie stews as its high in vitamin B12 and other goodies including trace elements and iodine which helps regulate thyroid function… An interesting note, when put into the soup/stew as dried seaweed it releases its salt into the liquid around itself. Soak it before use and it will hold onto most of its salt when cooked….
So in between that i was making stew and tiding up and writing blogs & all sorts and in the midst of all this activity i decided i had better de-pepper my chili plants which were taking up room in the studio window as they were brought indoors to ripen a month ago…
Chili plants tend to lag behind growth wise unless you can supply vast amounts of sun generated heat & Light, which we tend not to get here in Ireland until late in the growing season if at all so my plants were kept indoors in the hopes that it would ripen the fruits up before winter.
Some did and others remained small before they went into winter hibernation brought about by the decrease in sunlight intensity more so than heat.
Consequently i thought today…OK time to pluck any remaining fruit and compost the plants…..
As i was taking the fruit off i was thinking…Hmm …they look like such nice healthy plants and had quite woody stems wouldn’t it be great if i could overwinter them to get a head start next year, as most of this year was used getting the plants to germinate and grow to a size before they began to flower.
I was thinking this was doubtless fairly easy in a climate where the winter temperatures don’t go to freezing, but decided to google it anyway… I do love Google!!
Lo and behold! lots of people overwinter chili plants in the northern hemisphere quite successfully!
So far as i can see initially it pretty much trial and error information out there….in other words have a go and see what happens as chili plants are actually perennial as are Tomatoes and indeed potatoes so all can be overwintered…
Chili’s tend to have tougher leaves and drier stems though so they are probably easier than the other relatives unless you can guarantee dry frost free temperatures, obviously keeping them as dry as possible raises their chances of survival..though they will need some water as they are not succulents or cacti that store water…keep it to a minimum especially in frosty weather.
A blanket of soft cloth or newspaper can insulate and keep the air dry during frosty nights also. Keep an eye on them during winter and move them to a safer place if necessary, but do avoid bring them into warm rooms as the shock will surely kill them.
Most of the you tube videos and such posted by English or American chili enthusiasts advocate keeping them in greenhouses.
I don’t have a greenhouse as such, and find that most Irish greenhouses will be damp in winter anyway unless they are very large so i will keep some of them in my garden porch/conservatory which is cold though attached to the house so shouldn’t freeze which is the fatal danger for these plants and the others ill keep in cool rooms in the house where there is little winter heat and we will see how they fair….
i’m very pleased about this now as next year i should get a good early crop from my ‘Big Jim’ chili plants which are a medium hot large chili….Fingers crossed!! I will keep y’all informed of their progress
‘Big Jim’ Chili plants waiting in the hallway to be moved to their winter positions….