May 11, 2006

Chiles Continue to Grow

Now that the planting is done, my garden has settled into a quiet, growing phase. As I was out watering my raised bed this morning, I noted that the plants are all getting bigger and stronger. So far, the spacing is working well and I have not had to stake any of the peppers, although I suspect that I will have to do so with the bells later in the growing season. The deeper soil level of this year's raised bed seems to be having the desired effect. The plants are more stable and able to hold their weight instead of tipping over. Last year, I had trouble with most of my chiles not being able to hold their pods off the ground and I suspected it was the scant 6" of soil in the bed that was the culprit. This year, I have 10" of soil in the beds.

My two cherry bomb chiles are now of a size that I felt it was safe to remove the cutworm barriers and allow them their freedom. I still have six barriers in place around the smaller hot chile plants. They tend to grow very slowly and are still only a few inches tall. Of the six, only the scotch bonnet seems to be putting on any real height, but all the chiles are putting forth new leaves and gaining height. It is simply that these peppers are slow growers. I'm told that they will not produce chiles until 110 to 120 days after transplanting. However, once they reach maturity, I should get a year or two of production from them. Now that my new bed is in place, I might be able to successfully overwinter my more rare chile plants. I'll wait and see how it goes.

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