If you have been following along last year we decided to try pruning hot peppers. The end goal of this was to produce a pepper bush that would not only produce heavily but quickly.
In this episode we are going to go over how to prune from start to finish and when to start this process.
We started the seeds for the peppers in peat pods on September 20th and potted them on October 7th . Growing them under standard CFL shop lights for most of the winter they grew very well. Watering was done by adding the water to the tray below them and allowing the soil and plants to wick it up as need be. This promotes deep root development and keeps pests such as fungus gnats down as the surface of the soil is very rarely wet. It also helps keep the leafs dry which again assists in keeping potential pests away. Watering is done when the pot is light when picked up. Typically this is on a weekly basis in my home however that will vary based on plant size and humidity in the home.
The first pruning was completed on November 16th. This was the first time and we clipped back to right above the first two true leafs. This caused the peppers to send new shoots from the growth nodes found at the leafs essentially creating two new main growth tips.
The following pruning sessions happened when the plant was getting to large, wanted to flower or had too many branches crossing the centre. on average every 3 to 4 weeks. December 7th, January 11th January 22nd March 28th
Finally in April we hack back one more time to bring the plant under control.
By spring the peppers were too large for the CFL grow lights and were moved to a south west facing window. Although in the natural light for a few weeks we needed to adjust them to being outside. The sun is much stronger then any grow light today. We hardened the pepper plant off by slowly adding more direct sunlight once the threat of frost was gone.
Two weeks after starting the transition to outside we planted the peppers in their final home. They were put directly into the main garden beds to allow the plant the best chance to grow. The spot was selected based on the maximum exposure for direct sunlight and heat.
4 weeks after planting we were harvesting our first peppers. Continuing to harvest a few every few days as they became ripe. At the end of July we pulled in the rest as they were all ripe. In all we were able to harvest just over 50 super hungarian hot peppers well ahead of any of the rest of the peppers in the garden.