How to Plant, Harvest, and Store Chili
Chili, renowned for adding heat to the food, is the descendant of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Do you like this fruit?
Oh yes, it is often confused as a vegetable, but it is the plant Capsicum’s fruit. It is well-liked by gardeners because of the convenient growth nature that allows it to grow easily in the pot or containers. A novice gardener can also enjoy the crop’s successful growth with the right amount of information.
Planting to harvesting chili takes around 60-95 days, and the long life in the storage improves its value. Chili is a warm-weather crop with varieties of shapes, textures, taste, sizes, and color.
Chili, both for garnishing or adding spice to the cuisine, compliments your dinner table and serves you in various ways. The medicinal benefits and the economical rates of the crops boost their fame.
The chili is the most common fruit worldwide and the oldest grown crop in the U.S, leading to the assumption that it is U.S domesticated crops. The fruit is originated in Mexico.
If you need effective tips and advice to avoid the fail attempts to grow the fruit at home, this read is for you. Let’s find out more about planting, harvesting, and storing chilies at home to get the maximum benefits from the crop.
The chili plant provides multiple opportunities for beginners to enjoy the crop's growth in the container. Some prefer to grow it with the seeds, whereas some use transplantation of young plants. Many find that indoor cultivation has better effects on development because the crop requires a partially shaded area to grow in its initial stage.
Chili is a summer crop and requires the warm-temperature to grow well. The weather has a wide impact on the successful growth of the chili. The fruit cannot survive exposure to extreme weather like frost or freezing degrees, but the mid-winter or fall-winter is the best time to sow the seeds.
Soil and pH
The rich organic soil with the perfect combination of neutral pH makes it an ideal source for the chili seeds' germination. The moisture-retentive and loamy soil helps in the crop's growth. It is preferred to add well-rotted manure or compost to the soil before planting the chili seeds or transplantation to improve the chances of the healthy plant's growth.
Planting and Spacing
Chili is also known as pepper worldwide. It demands deep plantation because the seedlings are leggy. Sow the seeds deep enough, like 2 inches in the soil, and space rows 24-36 inches apart. Sow over one seed in a pot or a deep container.
The perfect time to sow the seeds is between February to April. It provides the soil’s higher temperature, around 65°F, for smooth germination and water the plant to even the surface. Once the seedling emerges after 6-8 weeks, the young plant is ready to transplant.
Growing chili is not a challenging task. The right amount of care to the plant helps in smooth growth. The seedlings take 7-10 days to emerge, and gardeners prefer to transplant them outside for warmth and sunshine.
The gardeners, using containers to grow chilies, bring it outside. The warm weather and an adequate amount of water to the plant in the container or pot help the fruit reach its harvest.
Regular watering is required for a chili plant for a healthy root system. Hot pepper (Chili) nurtures well in warm weather; chilly weather leads to the destruction of the plant. The seedlings demand 1-2 inches of water per week to keep the soil moist. Refrain over watering that can lead to the mishap to the fruit.
Mulch can retain the moist of the soil. Don’t let the soil dry as it leads to the flower drop. The plant needs heavy watering once the flower blooms, and the fruit begins to grow.
Protect the young plant from frost and cold weather, and cover the seedlings with fleece or cloth.
Regular weeding encourages the rapid growth of the plant. It also remains helpful in increasing the production of the fruit.
Chili can easily survive in the soil, which has a neutral pH. The fertilizers with phosphorus are preferable, but a high amount of nitrogen reduces the yields.
The hot pepper (chili) takes two to three months or 60-95 days to reach the harvest. The time between sowing and reaping hot pepper is 8-10 weeks. When the fruit’s color varies, it shows the maturity of the fruit and readiness to pick.
Regular picking around three-four times a week of the fruits at the peak time ensures the long cropping period. Many gardeners pick the green-colored pepper, the immature stage when the fruit is firm.
The red-colored pepper is the mature stage of the chili. When the chili reaches a height of 3.5-4 inches and firms, it is ideal for picking the red-colored pepper. The red pepper is the spiciest one than all the other peppers.
Gently cut the fruit out of the plant with a sharp knife but do not pull it to avoid any damage to the plant. Pick the chilies with the short stub of the stem.
Storing chili needs cool temperatures. Keeping it in a dry place with a temperature of around 0-4ºC can easily preserve fruit for over eight months. Avoid the chilling temperature that might affect the taste and texture of the chili.
To store the peppers in the refrigerator, make sure not to wash and slice them; only clean the fruit’s skin. Extend the period of storage up to 10 months by refrigerating it in a plastic bag.
The gardeners leave the fruit in the ground post maturity too, but the fruit does not last for over two weeks. Refrain using the discolored and soft skin chili.