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  • lukeathompson

Taking the Chillies for a Walk

10th May


Every morning and evening I’m taking the chillies for a walk.


In the morning I take the plants out to the greenhouse and in the evening I bring them back in again. The greenhouse gets sunlight pretty well all day but at the moment the overnight temperature is around 8˚C, which is too low for peppers, so they have to come back in again for now.


Some of the peppers are being prepared for life outdoors, so I’m leaving them in the wheelbarrow, which is off the ground and further away from furry nibblers and slimy nibblers, although they look like an offering to feathery nibblers. We’ve had a gentle breeze this week, which will help the hardening off process of these outdoors peppers, like the Rocotos.


I’ve spent so much time with the pepper plants now that I’m nervous of all these nibblers. The occasional snail is finding its way into the greenhouse and I’m throwing them deep into the woods. But we have just about all the nibblers in the UK here. Earlier this week the roe deer came into the garden and nibbled of the rose buds. We have all shades of voles, mice, shrews, rats in the fields and woods. We have squirrels and crows and a million small birds. And then we have the bugs and invertebrates.

 

They’ve all been a problem in the past. Last year the two biggest problems in the greenhouse were aphids and ants. I don’t think the ants do anything to the plant exactly, but last year they made a huge and elaborate nest in the compacted soil and the chillies on that side suffered, barely fruiting at all.

Now, I really love all these bugs, birds and beasts so I’m mostly looking to prevent. I’ve been squishing the cabbage white eggs on the horseradish plant, which got stripped down to the ground last year, and I will be brutal with any aphid eggs I see too, but at this stage I’m going to try encouraging the predators. So the ladybirds in the bathroom are being relocated to the greenhouse and while I’m tossing out the slugs and snails I find in the morning, I’m offering centipedes, beetles and spiders free bed and board.

 

There’s not much we can do about the furry nibblers but for the past few days the cat has been sleeping in an old empty grow bag by the greenhouse door, which might be a deterrent.


Gradually - just a couple a day - I’m upgrading the plants that need to be in bigger pots. All the Cayennettas are potted up, except for the lone runt, and one of the larger ones them is being left out overnight as an experiment. I’ve put up a thermometer in the greenhouse so I can check it whenever I’m passing. I don’t want the chillies to go below 15˚C ideally, but that’s not really plausible in the UK and a part of this year’s experiment is figuring out which of these varieties or species is best suited to growing here.

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