Growing chillies indoors

16 Jun

I love gardening, particularly if the end result is something edible. I live in a flat, with a small amount of outdoor space but no garden, so my options are pretty limited. I’ve discovered that chilli plants work surprisingly well indoors[1], which is lucky because I love hot food and we eat a lot of chillies in our house. A chilli plant is fairly compact, easy to look after, and can be high-yielding. Here are my two top tips, the first is simple, the second is a bit quirky but it works:

Put the plant in a warm, sunny spot. Not only will it generally be more successful, but also the more light and heat the plant gets, the hotter the chillies will be.

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Outdoor-grown chilli plants would normally be pollinated by our friends the bees. Unless you’re particularly happy to invite bees into your house (and as much as I love bees I wouldn’t voluntarily have one in my house), the flowers won’t get pollinated and you’ll end up with pretty but sadly fruitless chilli plants. So, what are you meant to do? When we first started growing chillies indoors, Mr Veg tried pollinating the flowers by brushing them with a little bit of tissue. This is really fiddly, and to be honest I’m not entirely sure it works. Shortly after this, I saw a TV gardening programme where they were talking about bees pollinating tomatoes, and they mentioned that the buzzing of the bee makes the flower vibrate and somehow this shakes the pollen into the right place. When I found this out I wondered if I could use something to vibrate the plant and quickly pollinate the flowers, eventually producing chillies. To cut a slightly-too-long-story short, pressing an electric toothbrush (or any other vibrating electric gadget you may happen to have at home) against the stem for 10 seconds once or twice a week will do the job of the bees. This isn’t a practical joke, it really works!

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[1] You might be reading this in a hot country and wondering why on earth I’m not growing them outside. I live in the United Kingdom, where it’s just not hot enough outside. To get a decent result here we need to grow things like chillies, peppers, and tomatoes under glass.

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One Response to “Growing chillies indoors”

  1. Penniless Veggie August 10, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Our windowsill chillies are doing well too! First year we’ve grown from seed, and couldn’t be easier. Can’t wait to start harvesting them 🙂

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