January is all about planning, preparation and reorganising. I had quite a few Chilli plants that lasted well into the winter so I decided late last year that I’d keep a few to see if could successfully over winter them. I usually save the seeds from my last crop or just grow from new seeds each year so this is a new thing for me. I have a lot of quality seeds for this year so there’s nothing to loose if these don’t work out – I think you have to not be afraid to try things when gardening and often you get surprisingly pleasant results when you don’t take it too seriously.
As I was lucky enough to have a good few plants that were still around in November & December last year I kept them inside even though they were at the end of their produce. To any sane person they looked finished but I felt they were perfect for over wintering. I kept them in our Living room during the worst weather and watered them every now and then over the Christmas period. I felt like a bit of a crazy person tending to these half dead looking things which turned into a bit of a mad experiment. My honeymoon was for 2 weeks at the end of 2011 so I reckoned it was 50/50 whether they’d still be alive. I was very happy to see them still hanging on when I got back on the 5th of this month.
I was quite brutal with these Chillies. I pruned them completely back with a serious lack of sentimentality and cut the stems leaving a basic but healthy base to encourage new growth. There are already a few buds showing and with the strong roots systems the have there is a good chance they could have a second growing season and I’m really interested to see the results.
I’d love to hear of any other methods or tips to over winter crops. Chilli Ninja