My plants have now spent two months out on the balcony. Except for a few which I got very late in the season, all of them are now flowering while some of the annuums are already putting out early pods.
Video featuring three of my annuums and two overwintered chinenses.
Over the past two months my plants have been facing very unsettled weather conditions. While in May it was mostly cloudy and rainy with temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, June has so far been a really sunny treat with temps in the low to mid 20’s.
Since all the soil, amendments and fertilisers I use are purely organic, the May conditions called for some affirmative action. As I explained in an earlier post, the nutrients in an organic growing-medium first need to be broken down into a mineral form by soil-microbes before they become available to the plants. Most of these microbes are mesophiles which means they will only be active at temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius or above.
So in order to ensure a constant supply of nutrients, I created my own liquid fertiliser which I fed to the plants once a week. To ten liters of warm water, I added a tablespoon of Guano and two tablespoons of an organic fertiliser (Cuxin Orgasan). After letting it sit for an hour, a lot of the nutrients would have dissolved in the water and the mix was ready to use. The Guano is rich in nitrogen and the Cuxin Orgasan has a lot of potassium, two elements which the plants essentially need to grow and put out nice, healthy foliage.
When the weather got warmer in early June I switched from liquid feeding to plain water and let the soil-microbes do their work instead. The plants really do seem to enjoy the treatment I give them because all of them are showing a nice compact growth with rather early Y-branching and close internodial spacing. The flowers and hence the pods will grow from the nodes, so the more nodes there are, the more produce the plant will be able to put out.
Some of the European annuum varieties I’m growing this year have already started to pod up . The Macedonian Vezena Piperka (seeds kindly supplied by Bart Meijer) was the first variety to germinate this season and it’s also leader of the pack in terms of flowers and pods. The Hungarian Hegyes Erös (pronounced “had-jash ay-roesh” and meaning “pointed and hot”) and Tölteni Való (pronounced “toell-tanny vah-loh” and meaning “good for stuffing”) as well as the Portuguese Goat Heart and the French Piment D’Espelette are doing fine and are close runners up to the Vezena.
One can easily tell these varieties are fully adjusted to the European climate. Most of my chinenses and baccatums are budding and flowering, too, but they’re clearly behind the annuums in their development. This kind of head-start seems like a good reason to select these European annuum sorts when you’re growing chillis in climates such as the one in Germany. It certainly feels rewarding to see the quick progress and success of these plants, and it adds to the fun of growing your own crop of hot peppers.