What an evening, spent half the evening taking pictures of chilli's, then harvesting ripe fruits (above are this years harvest of jalapeno's) and the other half putting some of the unripe chilli plants into the shower (you heard right) to get rid of greenfly. A heaving tepid douching in the shower - should do the trick of getting rid of greenfly - and if it doesn't I'll spray them with a mixture of washing up liquid/water to kill the aphids and then treat them to another shower in a day or two - pesky greenfly. That should get rid of them but I'll keep an eye!
I try to be as natural a gardener as possible, I'm not organic - some of the organic 'principles' I find hard to agree with in some ways (a story for another time, especially practices in some commercial 'organic' growing) but the term 'natural' gardening suits me better. It's more frugal to limit the chemicals we put into our plants and better for us and the plant if we can get the balance right naturally. Enough of that - chilli's! Yum - I love them - they are a vegetable (well, really they are a fruit) that is expensive and I can grow myself. They are very pretty plants as well and giving them house/greenhouse space can be doubly beneficial.
Chillis are part of the Deadlynighshade family (Solanaceae), but don't let that put you off - they are relatives to tomatoes/cape gooseberry/potatoes etc and chilli's are a type of Capsicum or Pepper fruit. They were discovered native in the America's and first documented on the voyage of Christopher Colombus (wow!) in 1493. Capsicums = Capsa meaning 'box' relating to the hollow fruits. Ignore me, I'm secretly a plant taxonomist in disguise - I love knowing why plants are called plants and what makes them all interrelated! Today I've learnt about the origin of my chilli's so I'm a happy girl! There are thought to be 10 wild types of chilli and 4-5 domesticated species and are classified by the types of fruits they have (I'll stop there incase you're asleep). Anyway, this year I am growing 10 different types on my windowsill (no polytunnel yet) - its part of an experiment - part market research.
I'll explain.......I'm hoping to sell enough plants from home to sustain our way of life - a small part of a larger 'patchwork' lifestyle (a friend quoted one day, I did like the expression) whereby you sustain your life by a financing through a few or many projects at home. Growing plants is one way I think I can contribute to our finances - its a skill I'm lucky to have and something I enjoy, below is another jalapeno - pretty plant isn't it?
Over spring this year I bought a number of vegetable/house/fruit plants over the mechanism of internet eg with a few from Ebay. I wanted to see how people packaged their plants, what quality the plants were, the prices they were charging and also essentially how they did it. We had a myriad of plants arrive in the post - some good - some not so good. Most plants arrived in 'jiffy plugs' (pic below) or in net/small pots, which I found interesting as I like to send seedlings bare rooted. It did help me to have the confidence to know that my growing was very much upto standard. My plants were healthy, well grown and compared very well to those at the highest end of the market - YAY!
We also had a myriad of packaging arrive - some good/some not so good - from these purchases I've been able to forge my own ideas for selling plants and have the pleasure to 'road test' the plants I purchased. Hence ordering a collection of 10 chilli plants (which nicely came with 5 free unexpected plants (a cucumber, tomoto, aubergene and a courgette!) what a nice surprise! (And, a good tip for sending plants to people - I'll order from that person again - the plants were good and the wee extra plants were a nice touch). This is how they arrived - nice and healthy in their own little jiffy pot.
So, the 10 chilli's were all successful and I'm beginning to harvest the ones which are ready at the moment - I've had to cut back one which wasn't looking too healthy, although it provided 4 decent chillis and thankfully now it's got new shoots coming. As chilli's are tender annuals in this country, or can be short-lived tender perennials I'm going to have a go at giving mine a prune after they've finished producing fruit and then overwinter them in a cool but frost free place to regrow them next year. I've a friend who's done this successfully for the last 5 years now and the plant has gone from strength to strength - more chilli's each year! So, part interested, part frugal I'm going to give that a go this year. I've also read of taking cuttings from new growth in the spring - so I'll try that too and I'm going to collect seed and try too. Anything that gives me a plant for free - I'll give a go!