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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Looking after your Chilli plants in British Weather

Hows your home grown chilli season going this year? With the wonderful British weather I have decided to try a few different methods to this year to help my chili plants grow. Here are a few useful 'how to tips' to give you a good chance of a more successful cop this year. 

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse you will need to ensure it is ventilate and dampened down to ensure the perfect conditions for your plants. Keep the chilli plants uniformly moist and apply a liquid feed too. The heat trapped in the greenhouse will greatly be appreciated by your little chilli plants.

If you’re planning to grow your chilli plants outside. for the best results, always select a sheltered, sunny spot with a well-drained but moisture-retentive and reasonably fertile soil. Or like me a god sunny position in a south facing garden in large pots like I have done for these two Hungarian Black chilli plants. To give them a helping hand with the sudden cold weather again I have fashioned a couple of cloches to keep them warm and out of the wind.

Hungarian Black Chilli Plants
If you plan to put your chili plants direct into the ground, if you haven't yet, harden them off  before planting them outside by exposing them to the colder weather . Be ready to protect outdoor chillies with fleece or cloches in adverse weather conditions. 

You will find the chilli plants establish themselves more quickly if you cover your proposed planting site with cloches a few weeks beforehand to warm-up the ground. You chosen spot will again need to have plenty of exposure to the sun. Personally I have not had huge success in the ground with the poor British summers.

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Monday, 4 June 2012

Birds like Chilli - Squirrels don't. How to protect your wild bird seed.

If you end up with some weird chillis at the end of your season you are not planning on eating then why not use them to protect your wild bird seed in the garden from the ever resourceful cheeky squirrel!

Set your discarded chillis our in the sun or in a warm ventilated place in your house such as by your boiler to dry them out. Once dried you can grind them down using a pestle and mortar or, I use a coffee grinder. Take care though as even if you are a seasoned consumer of all things chili the dust created by the process can irritate your eyes and also educe coughing fits. be sure to wash your hands when you are done to, removing any last dust. Make sure you store the chilli dust in a sealed container.

When ever you feed your bird population in your garden now sprinkle over a little of the chilli powder, the birds don't mind the heat but the squirrels don't like it and will end up finding a new source of food to seal instead.

Good luck

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