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Chili pepper cultivation
The chili pepper is not only used for food purposes: its plants are increasingly widespread also as a border and for the decoration of gardens and paths. But, to get good and spicy hot peppers, you need to follow some rules that will allow you to have a good, lush and healthy harvest. It is necessary to know what are the cultivation needs of the plant to prevent it from being placed in an unfavorable place. There are also numerous varieties of peppers, which may require different treatments and conditions. So let's try to understand together to proceed with a good cultivation.
First of all, it is good to make a careful choice of the terrain. The chilli plant needs a light and not clayey soil, as the roots would be suffocated. This type of plants also prefers a warm climate: in case of cold they need protection. The soil in which we are going to plant the seedlings must therefore be exposed to the sun: the peppers do not fear direct light.
To start growing chillies, it is best to germinate the seeds in a seedbed, and then transplant the seedlings into the open field. It is advisable to plant the seeds in the seedbed in February and March: if possible, it is better to keep the seedbed in a warm place. In fact, heat helps germination.
The seedlings will be ready to be planted in an open field after about fifteen days from sowing: in the meantime, we will have prepared the soil, digging it and hoeing it to make it as fine as possible. Chili, like many other plants, fears water stagnation: it is therefore necessary to combine fine-grained sand, which makes it lighter and improves drainage, during preparation. During digging, it is advisable to fertilize the soil with an organic fertilizer, such as manure.
Growth and harvest
Chillies need an abundant amount of water when they are in the germination and growth phase: initially, the irrigations must therefore be two or three a week; to then be considerably reduced once the plant is grown. At that point, it will be sufficient to irrigate the soil (without ever watering the plants) every time it is completely dry. The chili is a perennial plant, which will therefore keep us company all year. The fertilizations are necessary about once every six months: we recommend the use of a liquid fertilizer with abundant phosphorus, to be dissolved in the water destined for irrigation. For the rest, the peppers do not need any special care: it is sufficient to periodically carry out weeding in order to eliminate the infesting weeds that grow near the plants, and a pruning towards the end of March. This operation must be used to eliminate dry or sick branches: to avoid damaging the plant, it is advisable to remove them by hand. With the arrival of winter, the peppers must be protected: it is possible to use synthetic material to cover the plants, taking care to make some small holes in it to let the air pass. The roots can be protected simply by covering the soil with straw or cloth.
The collection of chillies is possible in the summer and winter periods. They must be detached by hand, and can be used fresh or dried in the sun. To do this last operation correctly, simply lay the peppers on a cloth, in direct sunlight. Once dried, they can be stored in glass jars.
The chili in pot
Chili falls among the many plants that are also suitable for growing in pots, especially if there is not much space available in the garden. It is however recommended to choose vases with a large diameter (at least thirty centimeters), so that the roots of the plant find the space necessary to develop at their best.
The pot (preferably in terracotta, as it allows the oxygenation of the soil and roots) must be prepared with a draining system on the bottom, made from stones or expanded clay balls.
The pot must then be filled with crumbly and light soil: to make it finer and improve drainage, fine-grained sand can be combined. It is also advisable to make the soil, combining organic fertilizer (like the manure that can also be used in the open field).
Once the plants have been planted there, it is necessary to follow the same advice valid for open field cultivation: the pots should be exposed to the sun, and protected inside the house (or in a small greenhouse) before of the arrival of winter frosts, which would make the peppers dry.
Chilli is a plant that can immediately show a state of suffering: if the irrigation is not enough, the leaves turn yellow before falling. In this case, it is advisable to intervene rapidly increasing the amount of water we administer to the plants. But the peppers also have other enemies: these are the red spiders and aphids, against which it is possible to use a special product that can be purchased in stores specializing in gardening items. Other times, stagnant water can cause an attack by molds or fungi: in this case, it is advisable to reduce irrigation.