As you may have seen from the previous post I've been busy finishing off the chilli cave to house the plants through the colder months, it was now time to give them a severe pruning and rehouse them.
Before this could take place I had to harvest all of the remaining fruit, ripe or otherwise.
|The Chilligrow plants before their haircut...|
|...and after a short back and sides.|
It was time to call an end to the hydroponic experiment. Despite having produced an impressive amount of fruit, "the Gurgler" had stopped working properly in recent weeks with the water not draining fully back into the reservoir. I suspected that this was because the roots had grow so vigourously that they were blocking the outlet for the pump. Upon pulling up the plants, my suspicions were confirmed with the most impressive root growth I've seen on a chilli this year. Next year I'll use a modified system with the plants growing in root pouches to contain the roots and stop them fouling the flood inlet and outlet.
|The results from the Gurgler - a Peach Habanero and an Orange Magnum Habanero with impressive roots.|
Since I have several Orange Habs already overwintering I haven't bothered trying to rescue that plant but the Peach Hab has been potted on into compost to see if it survives the winter.
|The chillies in their new home|
|The Chilligrows and assorted pots basking in the CFL lights|
|Some of the plants in Root Pouches. These have performed well this year and I'll certainly be using them again.|
The collected chillies from the harvest over half-filled a large shopping bag. Not up to commercial grower standards but more than respectable for my little setup.
|Some of the final harvest, ready for sorting.|
Many of the chillies were still green when picked so they're now on windowsills waiting for the winter sun to ripen them up before they're chopped and frozen or strung up to dry.
This year was all about testing different habaneros for the best flavour. I grew Magnum Orange, Fatalii, Peach and Squat Frog varieties, alongside the milder Scotch Bonnets and the much, much hotter Trinidad Scorpion.
|The hotter chillies - L to R: Trinidad Scorpion, Yellow Scotch Bonnet, Fruit Burst Hab, Orange Magnum Hab, Squat Frog, Fatalli and Peach Hab|
Once everything has ripened as best possible, I'll start the sauce making process. It'll be trial and error matching each variety up to an appropriate flavour so expect plenty of culinary experimentation and no shortage of burnt mouths.